After a long wait, the registration process within the ‘Social Protection Support’ network has been launched during an event held in the Grand Serail. The Ministry of Social Affairs clarified that the support network for social protection includes two programs: the first is “Aman” funded by the World Bank, and the second program is the “finance card.”
Registration for the two programs started on Wednesday and continues until January 31, 2022.
The “Aman” program targets 1,000 Lebanese needy families, who will receive a monthly amount of $20 for each member of the family and a maximum of 6 members, in addition to a fixed amount of $25 per family.
As for the financing card program, it directly targets Lebanese families residing in Lebanon, excluding families benefiting from the “Aman” and “Hayat” programs and wealthy families. Each family member will receive $25, as well as $15 per person aged 65 and above.
Transfers within the financing card program will be paid in dollars or its equivalent in Lebanese pounds according to the exchange rate on the exchange platform.
Around 2.3 million residents in Lebanon have been classified under the poverty line, according to the World Bank report, which predicted that Lebanon would not recover in the current economic horizon.
A World Bank report revealed that the national poverty line is expanding dramatically in Lebanon, to include new categories. It said that about 2.3 million residents are now below the poverty line, distributed between 1.5 million Lebanese and 780,000 displaced Syrians, as high percentage points of poverty have been monitored during the current year by 28 points, compared to 13 percentage points in 2020, and the same percentage increased by 52 percentage points among the displaced in the current year, compared to 39 points in the previous year.
The annual inflation rate increased by 173% in October and the cost of transportation increased by 508% on an annual basis due to lifting subsidies on fuel, and the cost of water, electricity, and gas increased by 271% and the cost of medicine 233% after the subsidy was lifted for more than 1,500 medicines. The prices of foodstuffs and spirits also increased by 304%, and prices in restaurants and hotels increased by 300%, in addition to the prices of clothes and shoes, which rose by 209%, and furniture and household appliances by 150%.
The report unveiled that the successive crises that afflicted Lebanon, in addition to the Corona pandemic have affected families either on the financial, as many people have lost their income, or on the non-financial level through the imbalance that affected the health and educational sectors. The report indicated that “this is in addition to the crisis that paralyzed the government’s ability to provide social assistance to citizens and residents alike.”
The report pointed out that while donor organization, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Program, increased their assistance to refugees, this assistance remained below the rate of the deteriorating exchange rate of the lira against the dollar.
With the absence of reliable information on the poor, which is a key gap to urge response to crises and develop plans for recovery, the World Bank does not expect recovery to take place in Lebanon on the current economic horizon. But it stresses, on the other hand, that radical reforms are essential on the course to recovery and that Social protection programs help a lot in alleviating the impact of multiple crises.
The Deputy Prime Minister and its representative in the negotiations with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Saadeh Al-Shami, informed the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee and the Administration and Justice Committee about the negotiations.
The proposal for the Capital Control Law is not ready yet because the discussion about it with the two international parties is not over yet. Consequently, the two committees gave Al-Shami a week to complete his discussions with the IMF, so that he would return the proposal to study it in the joint committees.