What percentage of defence and security expenditure in the budget year is dedicated to spending on secret items relating to national security and the intelligence services?


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The percentage of defence and security spending on secret items relating to national security and the intelligence service is not available to the public. The finance laws of the few last years only list total figures of the budget of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior, local authorities and territorial planning (1), (2), (3).

Research shows that there is little information on how the budget of the related ministries breaks down. No details on the spending of specific items have been made available. Also, international sources of security budgets, such as SIPRI (4) and the CIA World Factbook (5), only provide overall figures of security expenditure.

Various laws allow classifying information relating to the defence sector. The secrecy of the defence sector is defined on the one hand in the organic law on the information. Art. 84 says that professional journalists have the right to access information unless the information concerns national defence secrecy (6). On the other hand, Article 63, 66, and 67 of the Penal Code mentions that issues related to security are classified (7).

There is no publicly accessible information the budget for secret items relating to national security and the intelligence services

For instance, the 2018 State Budget Law stipulates that security-related public services integrated into the National Security System are subject to a special regime, funded by the Special Financial Security Funds that are under the sole control of the president (Art. 12) (1).

The percentage of defence and security expenditure dedicated to spending on secret items related to national security and intelligence is not available publicly. There is no information about military spending on secret items in the reports of the Supreme Audit Institution or the Court of Accounts. According to the 2018 BTI report, Burkina Faso’s military expenditures for the past three years were 1.2% of the GDP in 2016; 1.3% in 2015; and 1.4% of the GDP in 2014 (1). The 2000-2018 Trading Economics Burkina Faso Corruption Ranking indicates that “Burkina Faso[‘s] military expenditure is 185.60 USD Million,” it does not report spending on secret items related to defence and security as well as the intelligence (2). The Open Budget Survey report (2018) states that “since 2015 Burkina Faso has decreased the availability of budget information by: Producing the In-Year Report for internal use only; Failing to produce the Mid-Year Review’. The report further says that the country has “failed in making progress by: Not making the Citizens Budget available to the public in a timely manner; Publishing an Executive’s Budget Proposal that only contains minimal budget information” (3).

There is no evidence that the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), has recorded the percentage of defence and security expenditure dedicated to spending on secret items either. However, the 2018 SIPRI report states that there has been a 24% increase in Burkina Faso’s military expenditure from 2016 to 2017, which is about $191 million (4).

The budget for the secret services is a sub-budget of the Ministry of Defence. Details of the different needs of the intelligence services are not clearly stated in this budget. There are no details on how the budget will be spent and the expenditures carried out are considered state secrets that are not revealed to the public [1]. The 2017 financial budget did provide information on security spending relating to national security and the intelligence services, but the percentage of defence and security expenditure in the budget year that is dedicated to spending on secret items relating to national security and the intelligence services is not available to the public [1] [2].

The precise percentage of defence and security expenditure allocated each year to secret items related to national security or the intelligence services is not disclosed. A new intelligence service was created around the Coordination Nationale du Renseignement (CNR) on 18 October 2012 via Decree No. 2012-1016 (Décret n° 2012-1016, Portant création, missions et organisation de la Coordination nationale du Renseignement, en abrégé CNR). The CNR is directly attached to the Executive and is headed by the President’s brother, Birahima Téné Ouattara. All CNR activities, including the annual allocations from the Budget Law for intelligence services, is considered top secret. On the official website of President Ouattara, the CNR appears under the subheading “Les Affaires Présidentielles”, and appears to be only accountable to the minister of presidential affairs and the Directeur de Cabinet, a powerful position within the government hierarchy (1).

In general, annual allocations to the defence budget are provided only in highly aggregate form with no detailed breakdown of costs. For example, the draft Budget Law for 2018, published in October 2017, provides the planned expenditure across broad functions. Table 5 (p. 17) shows the key spending elements of defence: Defence & Security: 516.8 billion FCFA, of which CFA 252.8 billion are projected for the Armed Forces (services des armées), 174.3 billion FCFA allocated to the police forces and 79.3 billion CFA to the Gendarmerie Nationale (2). The draft Budget Law for 2018 also indicates the level of projected expenditure for fuel destined to the armed forces (13.8 billion FCFA), operational costs at the Conseil National de Sécurité (CNS) (10 billion FCFA) and a global figure of 617.9 billion FCFA across other functions. Finally, it makes mention of the LPM (p. 14) (2).

The financial records of secret items are not included in the budget (1), (2), (3). According to a recent interview with the deputy minister (MoD) for financial affairs, Egypt’s military budget forms only 5% of the total budget (4). According to the FY15/16 national budget, 99.3% (EGP 42.9 billion out of the EGP 43.2 total budget) of the Defence and National Security expenditure is classified under “other expenses” (5), which is the translation of armed forces budget being presented in the budget as a single (topline) figure, as stated by Article 204 of the Constitution (6).

The percentage is not available to the public or the legislature (1), (2), (3).

While the new federal budget for 2018 breaks down major costs and allocations relating to national security, secret items are not included (1), (2). Similarly, the draft law proposed for the fiscal year of 2019 does not disclose the percentage of the budget dedicated to ‘secret items relating to national security and intelligence” (3). Information of such a sensitive nature is not publicly disclosed or discussed within the public domain.

There is a secret defence budget, which mostly comes from the businesses owned by the armed forces, foreign donations or from other sources [1,2]. However, there is no data about that, not even for officers in the army or the intelligence. Defence budgets available to the public are generally obscure, and the most detailed one appears as forecasted expenses in the General Budget Law for Fiscal Year 2018 [3]. In the 2017 annual financial accounts of the Ministry of Finance, there is no mention of defence or military expenditures at all [4]. However, in the 2016 report, a very small section was provided for military expenses which include general figures for the expenditures of the armed forces, the royal military services, public security directorate, civil defence and the gendarme forces [5]. General figures demonstrate that most of the defence expenditure is in fact secretive and its breakdown is not available to the public. The percentage of allowed secret spending is not available to the public, nor is any level of details for defence budgets.

More than eight percent of the budgets of security and defence agencies are spent on unknown projects, the state budget breakdowns show. In 2017/2018, about 50 percent of the military expenditure and 15 percent of the expenditure of the police and the KNG went to unknown assets and services, according to the final report of the Finance Ministry (1). These funds were not explicitly said to have gone to secret projects, but they were distributed among vaguely described categories like “products and services” and “expenses and other transactions,” upon which no further information is available.

Year 2016/2017 produced similar results (2), but in 2015/2016, 96 percent of the military’s was went to poorly described categories like “needed sales and services” (3). No explanations were asked for or given.

Less than one per cent of the defence budget is allocated to spendings on secret items. According to the 2018 State Budget Law published on the Ministry of Finance’s website, secret items spending costs 18,000,000,000 (divided by 1,507.50 = $11,940,298.50) (1) which is 0.66%, less than one per cent of the total stated draft defence budget out of which around 20% is spent on the LAF motor pool and other running costs (2).

The size of the budget allocated to the intelligence services is not publicly known. Mali’s intelligence service, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité d’Etat (DGSE), does not have a website. The budget of the armed and security forces does not include the intelligence service or make any reference to items kept secret for reasons of national security. The 2018 budget contains a breakdown of defence spending into various categories: personnel, materials and functioning, travel and operations, communications and energy, other expenses, equipment and investment, transfers and subventions. But there is no mention of the resources invested in the DGSE. Indeed, there have been no mentions of intelligence spending in recent annual budgets or defence plans.² ³ ⁴ Furthermore, there is no standing parliamentary committee vested with any responsibility or power for overseeing DGSE operations, organisation, budget or activities.⁵
Substantial amounts of defence spending are not detailed in the budget as many things can be financed through the numerous sources of off-budget defence income, as outlined in the SIPRI report from 2006.¹ The report also states that the official budget of the armed and security forces (as it appears in the annual Finance Act) is only a fraction of the economic resources dedicated to military activities in Mali.

The percentage of defence and security expenditure throughout the budget year dedicated to spending on secret items relating to national security and the intelligence services is not disclosed to the public (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)

The precise percentage of defence and security expenditure in the budget year dedicated to spending on secret items relating to national security and the intelligence services is not available to the public (1,2).

According to State Budget 2018 (3), Article 44, budgetary resources allocated to the Ministry of Defence are as follows (FCFA):
Administration of national defence policy: 54 170 331 550
Securing the territory: 72 589 000 000
Consolidation of peace: 861 200 000

According to SIPRI (4), Niger’s defence expenditure (in constant USD) in recent years was as follows:
2013: 88.6 million (1.4% of GDP)
2014: 122.8 million (1.8% of GDP)
2015: NA
2016: 166 million (2.2% of GDP)
2017: 198 million (2.7% of GDP)
Thus, a score of 0 is most appropriate here. It takes into consideration the secrecy of the information on the percentage of defence and security expenditure in the budget year dedicated to spending on secret items.

The actual percentage figure is difficult to ascertain as the line by line budget items are not sufficiently disaggregated to enable such an examination to be made (1). The executive has access to various pools of funds, which are classified as “special intervention funds”. The precise source of these funds and their amounts are not clear in the budget. They disappear and sometimes reappear under different headings (2).

There is no information about the military budget, as it is decided in the sultanic office. Additionally, the secret items and secret budgets are managed by the sultan’s office (1), (2). No details on the defence budget breakdown are publicly available on either the Ministry of Defence or Ministry of Finance websites (3), (4). No percentage is available to the public regarding spending on secret items. Moreover, Oman’s intelligence service, the Internal Security Service, falls directly under the Royal Office, and thus no evidence suggests their budget falls under defence (3). No estimations are plausible given that only the overall defence budget is published annually.

The percentage of secret items is not available to the public, or the information that is published is considered unreliable, as it provides a general overview of data, stating, for example, that 30% of the general budget goes to the military/security agencies (PA budget). Other details may include costs of petroleum and vehicles. As the intelligence force remains directly linked to the PA president and his office, it is not possible to know how much of the funds and budgets are dedicated to that security service, let alone the secret budgets (1), (2).

Qatar defence budgets are not available to the public, and the budgets of other governmental departments lack detail. It can be argued that defence budgets are secret. The overall budgets of the defence sector, including the intelligence, are not available. There is no known percentage in the budget year for secretive expenditures. As one source stated, “All the budget is secretive”(1,2).

In December 2017, the Saudi Ministry of Finance for the first time provided limited details on defence spending, stating that the government would spend SAR 210.0 billion (USD 56.0 billion) on defence when it released the 2018 budget (1). Previously, annual reports published by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency provided only “top line” total information on the defence budget (2). However, there is no comprehensive breakdown of these figures, and it is not possible to ascertain what portion is allocated for spending on secret and national security items (1), (2).

There is very little publicly available data on Tunisia’s defence budget, and no information that touches upon secret items within the budget breakdown.

The UAE defence budget that is made available to the public does not contain a breakdown of expenditures. The government announces its annual budget and provides a topline round figure on defence and the military budget that does not include a breakdown or any details about budget distribution. Business Monitor International (BMI) and Global Security state that the UAE’s annual defence expenditure stood at an average of $23.4 Billion per year and this is expected to increase to an average of $35 Billion over the forecasted period (1), (2), (3).

Country Sort by Country 26. Sort By Subindicator
Algeria 0 / 100
Angola 0 / 100
Burkina Faso 0 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 0 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100
Ghana 0 / 100
Iraq 0 / 100
Jordan 0 / 100
Kuwait 25 / 100
Lebanon 100 / 100
Mali 0 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100
Niger 0 / 100
Nigeria 0 / 100
Oman 0 / 100
Palestine 0 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100
Tunisia 0 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Department for International Development and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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