CPI The Lebanese Center for Public Information
22. Why
budgeting ?

    Why Are Budgets Important?

    The budget is governments’ most important economic policy tool.

    Public budgets translate a government’s policies, political commitments,
    and goals into decisions on how much revenue to raise, how it plans to
    raise it, and how to use these funds to meet the country’s competing
    needs, from bolstering security to improving health care to alleviating

    A budget system that functions well is crucial to developing sustainable
    fiscal policies and economic growth.

    In many countries, economic problems are exacerbated by weak
    budget systems and faulty budget choices. Given its wide-ranging
    implications for a country’s people, the budget should be the subject of
    significant scrutiny and debate.

    While a government’s budget directly or indirectly affects the lives of
    every one of its citizens, it can have the greatest impact on certain
    groups, such as the elderly, children, the poor, rural residents, and

    The well being and prospects of these people can hinge greatly upon
    government decisions on raising and spending money.

    Budget cuts tend to have the greatest impact on programs that benefit
    the poor and vulnerable, as other items, such as interest on the debt,
    the public-sector wage bill, or military expenditures, are more likely to
    have first claim on scarce funds.

    Moreover, even when funds have been allocated to specific programs—
    whether for minorities, children, or the disabled—weak expenditure and
    program management can result in funds never reaching the intended

    The lack of political power among these marginalized people to hold
    their government accountable is another factor in poor budget
    execution (i.e., after the budget is passed, how money is actually raised
    and spent).

    It is critical for civil society organizations to engage in all stages in the
    budget cycle not only because they can contribute valuable technical
    skills to the process but they also have connections with the community
    that enable them to bring critical information about the public’s needs
    and priorities to budget debates.

    In addition to representing the concerns of marginalized people, civil
    society can strengthen and support the ability of the poor and most
    vulnerable to participate in the budget process and advocate for