File - A policeman stands guard in front of the Finance Ministry in Beirut, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Everyone thinks it's the politicians who screw up Lebanon's budget process.Coming up with a budget that encompasses all governmental spending for a year is a monthslong process fraught with pitfalls.The process kicks off in April with a circular from the Finance Ministry asking every government body to submit a detailed funding request for the following year.There are over a hundred of these bodies, according to Carole Abi Khalil, the budget director at the Finance Ministry.It's not just ministries; often there are several administrations within a single ministry, and each has its own budget request.The Finance Ministry recently gained a tool to help the process along.Once the interministerial process is complete, the Finance Ministry compiles the draft budget, and the minister submits it to the Cabinet.Abi Khalil confirms that the 2018 budget was prepared and submitted on time, just as the 2017 budget – currently before Parliament – was more than a year ago.This year, the 2017 budget was passed by the Cabinet in May. Then in Parliament it was examined by the Finance and Budget Committee, which made headlines for slashing the Telecommunications Ministry draft budget by $100 million at one point in August. So will Parliament pass a budget after going 11 years without one?
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