National consultant – Business Process Re-Engineering of the Consumer Protection Directorate at the Ministry of Economy and Trade (MoET). – Beirut

Full Time
Posted 1 year ago

Lebanon is going through one of the worst economic crises in its modern history. In less than 2 years, the country has seen its financial system and economy collapse. The economic collapse has had severe social and humanitarian consequences on businesses and households, particularly vulnerable groups including women, youth, informal workers, informal sectors and historically marginalized regions.
With the collapse of the financial system and the dwindling of foreign exchange reserves, the exchange rate, which used to be pegged to the US dollar, has deteriorated leading to a severe depreciation in local currency and simultaneous inflationary pressure. Increase in food prices has become one of the most alarming concerns in Lebanon, mainly among poor and low-income households, as food accounts for considerably high proportion of their budget.
The Consumer Protection Directorate (CPD) at the Ministry of Economy and Trade (MoET) has been playing a critical role to ensure that the interests of consumers are being protected, particularly in times of pandemic and crisis. The directorate has been overstretched beyond its limits, mainly in the past two years, due to the growing volume of transactions and decreased productivity. This has resulted in major delays in addressing consumer complaints and inspecting market irregularities and manipulation. It has also resulted in delays in approving the entry of imported goods (mainly through the ports) and in approving licensing requests from gas and fuel companies as well as from SMEs. Providing the Consumer Protection Directorate with the needed support is key to ensure citizen’s continuous access to essential goods, fair prices and information. There is a growing tendency among consumer protection directorates worldwide to employ digital means to improve their outreach.
Digital transformation and public sector reforms have been high on the agenda of the Lebanese Government as the current economic crisis may be presenting an opportunity to move the current governance model into a more agile one, that addresses current critical challenges that contributed to the economic and financial collapse and resulted in increased inequalities and vulnerabilities. This initiative comes within the Lebanese government efforts to accelerate digital transformation at the national level, and as a practical translation of the Digital Transformation Strategy that was approved by Cabinet on May 12, 2022.
UNDP is leading on the implementation of the digital transformation agenda and will support the Ministry of Economy and Trade (MoET) in its efforts. The digitalization of the Consumer Protection Directorate has been prioritized for a variety of factors: 1) It addresses one of the most pressing needs facing vulnerable groups across Lebanon in relation to access to fair and safe food and basic services; 2) It fits within the ministry’s vision of improving its delivery of services to citizens leveraging technology and automated tools and 3) It aligns with the national government vision of digitizing government services, particularly the newly approved 2022 National Digital Transformation Strategy, 4) It complements the government’s efforts to implement reforms aiming to reduce corruption and increase transparency; and finally 5) it serves as an entry point to support public administration reforms including improving productivity of civil servants.

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