UNDP supported the Ministry of Finance in improving its revenue collection capacity through youth volunteerism
August 31, 2023
Beirut, 24 August 2023; The United Nations Development Programme and the Ministry of Finance held a closing event to conclude the two-months intensive support provided by UNDP to reactivate and sustain core functions in the Ministry, through 60 recruited volunteers from all over Lebanon. This support comes within a longer-term technical assistance agenda agreed, earlier this year, between the Ministry of Finance and UNDP to enable Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM), and to link tax policies to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The event was held at the VAT building of the Ministry of Finance in Beirut, and was attended by H.E. the Minister of Finance Dr. Youssef Khalil, UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Melanie Hauenstein, representatives from key donor organizations, Ministry of Finance staff, in addition to the volunteers who provided the support to the Ministry.
The protracted economic and financial crisis severely affected the public sector functionality and constrained the delivery of public goods and services. Employees of the public sector saw massive losses in the real value of their wages and had to deal with mounting transportation costs that limited their reporting to their workplace. Despite the recent top-ups approved by the Government, adjusted income is not yet sufficient to cover the increasing cost of living, and in some instances not sufficient to cover transportation costs of the employees to their workplace. These extended periods of economic downturns, along with the impact of COVID19, limited the regular reporting of civil servants to their workplace and caused an accumulation of a massive backlog of transactions that were hard to be cleared, given the limited resources available at the Ministry.
To compensate for this shortage in capacity, and based on the request of the Ministry of Finance, UNDP mobilized around 60 volunteers from its Youth Leadership Programme. The volunteers were deployed across several Directorates of the Ministry including the Revenue, Treasury, and Public Accounting Directorates. Volunteers were assigned various tasks including data entry, filing, archiving, sorting, control of balances, and others.
The support provided by these volunteers enabled the Ministry to start collecting some revenues that were not collected since 2018, such as built property taxes. It also contributed to the Ministry’s efforts to finalize the closure of accounts for the past three years. In total, around 5820 volunteering hours were completed between the months of July and August with more than 32,521 transactions handled including income tax and property tax backlogs.
“This initiative is multi-dimentional (i) in terms of supporting the institutional capacity, relaunching core functions and empowering the Ministry of Finance to lead the recovery and refom process, (ii) in terms of empowering Lebanon's younger generation, instilling in them a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the country's economic resurgence, enabling them to play a pivotal role in Lebanon's socio-economic recovery and (iii) in terms of shaping future donors’ support beyond mere paths of technical assistance and exploring innovative, efficient and targeted intiatives to address the repercussions of an unprecendented crisis” H.E. Dr. Youssef Khalil, Minister of Finance .
This initiative goes beyond technical assistance. By actively involving youth volunteers, the programme aimed to empower Lebanon's younger generation, instilling in them a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the country's economic resurgence. The programme also exposed these volunteers to valuable technical skills and experience in public finance, thereby enhancing their employability and enabling them to play an importantrole in Lebanon's socio-economic recovery.
“This initiative comes as part of UNDP’s mandate to strengthen core government functions, sustain institutions, restore public services and trust within a fragile context. The role of the Ministry of Finance is fundamental in the economic recovery process, particularly in achieving fiscal stability, restoring investors and citizens’ confidence, fairly distributing wealth and burdens, and in driving Lebanon back towards an inclusive and sustainable growth path. It is thus essential to ensure that the institutions responsible for domestic revenue mobilization are empowered and supported to properly perform their functions” Ms. Melanie Hauenstein, UNDP Resident Representative.
UNDP is working in Lebanon since 1986 as a development partner supporting economic recovery, including working with municipalities to deliver basic services to host communities, promoting clean energy and solid waste management, strengthening governance and rule of law, providing support to elections, and working on empowering women and youth.
For more information, please contact
In UNDP – Lebanon | Rana Moughabghab | firstname.lastname@example.org | +961 3 835 351
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