Q12.

Is the defence budget transparent, showing key items of expenditure? And it is provided to the legislature in a timely fashion?

12a. Comprehensiveness

Score

SCORE: 25/100

Assessor Explanation

Assessor Sources

12b. Timeliness

Score

SCORE: 25/100

Assessor Explanation

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The finance laws only list the topline figures for the defence budget, it is not broken down into functions or areas (1), (2), (3). Generally, the Open Budget Survey of 2017 scores Algeria 3 out of 100 and states that Algeria provides the public with scant budget information (4).

Based on publicly available information, the Algerian parliament receives a proposal on the general budget about three months before the beginning of the budget year. However, it is unclear if the two chambers get a more detailed account of the government’s spending other than the aggregated figures mentioned in question 12A.

According to Algeria’s constitution (Art. 138), the parliament shall adopt the finance law within 75 days at the latest from the date of its presentation (1). For the finance law for the budget year of 2018, the Council of Ministers adopted it at the end of September 2017, which was also when the Prime Minister presented the proposal at the Upper House of the Algerian parliament, the Council of the Nation (2) (3). It was discussed in the Lower House, the APN, at the end of November 2017 (4) and adopted a few days later (5). The Council of the Nation adopted the law a few days later, December 11, 2017 (6). The timeline of the legislative process suggests that all parliamentarians of both chambers receive an accurate defence budget proposal at the latest two months before the start of the budget year (January 2018). The reporting also suggests that this procedure is in accordance with the regulation based on the organization act that fixes the organization and function of the APN and the Council of Nation with the government. According to Art. 44, the parliament shall adopt the draft finance bill within 75 days of its presentation at the latest. The APN shall vote on the draft finance bill no later than 47 days from the date of its submission. The Council of the Nation adopts the voted text within a maximum period of 20 days (7). However, no information could be found on whether parliamentarians receive disaggregated figures for government spending. A news report on the Commission of Finance suggests that the commission does not receive a detailed account (8).

The full executive budget proposal is usually first circulated in paper format and at later published on the Finance Ministry’s website in the form of summary documents, organized by administrative unit, locality, economic nature, function and programs. The budget details allocations to the defence sector by branch, but only in general terms and aggregated, namely: current expenditure, expenses with staff, expenses with purchase of goods and services, subsidies, capital investments (1), (2), (3).

For example, in the summary budget by the administrative unit, the budget of the Presidency does not list the military expenditures of its Security Bureau and its branches. In 2018, the government did not answer specific questions posed by opposition members of parliament regarding the matter (1), (2).

According to the 2010 State Budget Framework Law (Art. 24) (1), the draft state budget document must be submitted to Parliament before the 31st, of October of the year preceding to which the budget applies, and Parliament must vote it until December 15th. In practice, delays reportedly occur. According to CABRI, Angola’s fiscal year is January through December (2).

The 2018 state budget document was submitted to Parliament in December of 2017, and finally voted and approved in February of 2018. This delay may be explained by the August 2017 elections, and the exceptional presidential succession – the first since 1979 (3).

However, civil society platforms and organizations, such as OPSA and ADRA, who annually issue recommendations on the state budget, have for years, asked for more timely circulation of the budget proposals, execution reports, and supporting documents.

The defence budget is passed along with the budget of the other public institutions at the annual budget voting session. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), Burkina Faso has not made significant progress, as it continues to publish executive budget proposals with very little budget information (1). The survey also indicates that the country does not produce a mid-year review, which decreases the availability of the budget information. The Economist of Faso, in an article titled “Budget 2018: Les prévisions sont-elle réalistes,” criticizes the 2018 defence budget as it is not itemized, presenting only resources and expenditures (2). The defence budget is not broken down when it arrived at the NA; there was not enough information in the budget (3). Furthermore, according to an interview source, in the past, the NA just allotted an amount to the defence ministry, without any regard to how many acquisitions were planned for purchase by the MoD (4).

The government and the NA have been criticized for not making budget information available to the public promptly (1). Public access to government information is difficult, and the defence budget arrives to the NA with significant delays (1), (2). Again, the breakdown of all items in the defence budget is not presented (3). No information is available about when the defence budget arrives at the NA. However, the defence budget is adopted as part of the national budget every year. Limited information on the military budget is available.

The 2018 Budget Law provides only highly aggregated figures, and does not include any breakdown across functions (i.e. personnel [salaries, allowances], military R&D, training, construction, procurement / acquisitions, maintenance of equipment, disposal of assets, and administrative expenses). The budgetary breakdown under the Ministry of Defence is as follows: Governance and Institutional Support in the Defence Subsector; Strengthening Territorial Defence; Participation in National Development Activities; and Participation in the Protection of Persons and Property [1] [2].

In addition to the budget for the Ministry of Defence, there are also funds budgeted for defence / security initiatives under the President’s budget and under the Delegation General for National Security budget; the budget breakdown for both is also highly aggregated and without detail [1].

The budget is submitted in November while the fiscal year starts in July. The budget is submitted in advance for review. Before the Minister of Defence defends the Ministry of Defence’s budget in Parliament, it is sent beforehand to Parliament for review [1]. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association states, “30 days is the normal time between the presentation of the budget to Members and its passage by Parliament” [2].

According to the most recent International Budget Survey, “The Executive’s Budget Proposal is not provided to legislators at least two months before the start of the budget year” [3]. However, research indicates that Cameroon’s fiscal year is July 1-June 30 [4], and the budget proposal is provided to legislators by November of the previous year [5]. In fact, the 2018 budget was signed into law (after parliamentary approval) by 20 December 2017, more than 6 months before the start of the fiscal year [6].

The annual draft Budget Law shows highly aggregated figures for projected expenditure in the defence and security sector. 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 affecting defence as follows: Defence & security: 516.8 billion FCFA, of which 252.8 billion FCFA is projected for the Armed Forces (services des armées), 174.3 billion FCFA allocated to the police forces and 79.3 billion FCFA to the Gendarmerie Nationale (1). 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) (1). “In addition, the draft budget for 2018 takes into account other priority investments, in particular, those related to the Domestic Security Programming Law (5.8 billion FCFA), the Military Programming Law (30 billion FCFA)…”

The Loi de Programmation Militaire (LPM) is part of a new approach toward defence and security policy in Côte d’Ivoire. It is the product of the national security strategy, also known as the Réforme du Secteur de Sécurité (RSS), of the Conseil National de Sécurité (CNS). However, the LPM also does not provide a detailed breakdown of projected defence expenditure. The current LPM (2016-2020) was drafted with the assistance of US-based consultancy Jefferson Waterman International. Like the draft Budget 2018, the LPM is more of a spending roadmap than an actual defence budget. The LPM 2016-2020 provides for investments of 2.254 FCFA billion from 2016-2020. 1.453 billion FCFA alone has been allocated to operations (fonctionnement) (2). “In the implementation of this reform, the government plans to invest 2,254 billion FCFA francs over the period 2016-2020, compared to 6.4 billion FCFA francs that were spent per year by the Armed Forces [La Grande Muette]. A total of 1,453.6 billion FCFA will be allocated to operational issues, up to 60%, and 800 billion for investment, up to 40% of the allocated budget.”

According to Article 112 of the 2016 Constitution, the Assemblée Nationale (NA) should receive the draft Budget Law (Loi de Finances) before the end of its regular session (1). Article 112 states, “parliament shall consider the draft budget law before the end of its ordinary session. The draft budget law must provide the revenue necessary to fully cover all the expenses…”. In general, the budget is presented two to three months before the beginning of the calendar year. For instance, the Minister of Defence presented the Military Planning Act in November 2018 (2). However, the NA is not explicitly tasked with oversight of the defence budget and much less of major arms procurements. No accurate defence budget proposal is submitted to the CSD for analysis and the question of timeliness, therefore, does not apply.

As noted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), oversight of national defence policy is broadly exercised via the Commission Sécurité et Défense (CSD), whose composition reflects the numerical strength of the party in power (Rassemblement des Républicains, RDR). The CSD competencies include oversight over national defence, the police forces, immigration and internal conflict (2), (3). “The Security and Defence Committee has the general powers accredited to committees, i.e. of inquiry and information. The composition of the Commission reflects the numerical strength of each party in the parliament. The parliament controls national defence policy when the finance bill is being examined.”

The defence budget (1) is one of the most secretive items in the Egyptian state. Only a topline figure is provided in the national budget, with few breakdowns. According to the Constitution, the budget is incorporated as a single figure in the national budget (Art. 203). It is also worth noting that this figure does not constitute the whole military budget but only the part that is taken from the state treasury, as the military has its large revenue streams from its various economic activities that are even more opaque (2).

According to our sources, the Parliament receives inaccurate, or very limited information about the defence budget. There has been no incident where the Parliament debates the defence budget, and therefore, there is no available information on how accurate it could be (1), (2), (3).

The defence budget is publicly available on the Ministry of Finance website (1), (2), (3). The budget contains comprehensive and disaggregated information on expenditures across functions. However, the allocations for procurement of armaments are not itemised or included in openly available budgets (2), (3).

Information in the defence budget is divided into three sub-programmes:

Management and administration (General Administration; Finance; Human Resource; Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; Defence Cooperation, Research and Information Management; Veterans Affairs)
Ghana Armed Forces (Administration; Land; Naval; Air; Military Health Service, Defence Advisors),
Armed Forces Capacity Building (Military academy and training schools; Ghana armed forces command and staff college; KAIPTC)

Each of these sub-programmes provides information on their objectives, a description of their functions, a results statement (which shows the main outputs, indicators and projections used to measure the performance of the sub-programme) and a list of their operations and projects. The data on the resources allocated cover past years (2016, 2017) as well as projections for the future (2019, 2020, 2021).

With regards to procurement information, the budget shows the details of immovable and movable assets, furniture, office and ICT equipment. Spending on operational equipment (military vehicles, weapons, surveillance equipment, etc.) is also mentioned, although not in detail.

For 2018, the legislature received the budget statement on the 15th of November 2017 (1) and approved it on the 5th of December 2017 (2). Considering that the FY starts on the 1st of January, MPs received the budget proposal less than two months before the start of the budget year. Following the parliamentary approval, the Defence and Interior Committee was tasked to assess the estimates and allocations for the MOD in detail.

Although members of the PSCDI are given aspects of the defence budget on armaments when they go to the Ministry of Defence for budget hearing and document detailing the line items are immediately collected after the hearing (3), (4), (5), but the legislature has also complained about the lack of information on defence spending, notably the infrequency of intelligence briefings (which are supposed to occur yearly, detailing intelligence policy and spending) (6).

The defence budget and its allocations cover more than Iraq’s MoD, allocations are distributed among the following security actors, the CTS, PMF, MoI and MoD. The financial activities of each aren’t always transparent or widely discussed across Iraqi media. Some groups, such as the umbrella PMF organisation, draw fiscal strength from these allocations while generating income through other often illicit means. The defence budget does not offer an in-depth breakdown distribution of funds to the security actors.

General information is accessible mainly via the federal budget bill approved by parliament on March 3 of each year (1), (2), listing the sums allocated to key security agencies; MoD (allotted $600 mn), MoI ($146.3 mn), PMF ($80 mn), counter-terrorism forces ($80mn) (3). The remaining $549 million will be used for procuring arms, equipment, logistical items, and other support for Iraq’s armed forces. America’s financial support to fund the needs of Iraq’s MoD will continue in the form of borrowing (4). The budget states that Iraq intends to use $706.4 million in 2018, out of a total loan of £4,550bn. It offers no further breakdown of the value of equipment these security actors will procure in 2018. The money, as confirmed by a judicial source interviewed is disbursed by the Ministry of Finance (5).

The president and the parliamentary financial committee have been vocal in voicing their objections, and the latter is the only body that can scrutinize certain items/budgetary allocations. Only the financial committee is the legislative body able to exercise scrutiny (5). The degree of influence they have to scrutinise specific excerpts is uncertain. More detailed information on defence items and expenditures remains opaque, as this year’s budget shows. This problem is further explained in one source (6) “is in part due to the insufficient incorporation of democratic institutions into the budget process, including the legislative” (6, p. 90). Iraq, he adds, has no parliamentary budgetary office with oversight responsibilities. Little commentary is available in both Arabic and English to the budgetary practices of Iraq’s security institutions.

The federal budget and the government’s ability to deliver it on time to the legislature, without delay, is dependent on the ability power-sharing parties to work together. Matters of formulation and recommendation are delegated to the necessary committees, but calls for adjustments often result in further budgetary delays, due to political deadlock and lack of consensus. The information presented to the MoD is often superficial. This trend has shown strong signs of persistence over the past five years and is likely to persist in the absence of political agreement and consensus between political competitors within a fractured parliament.

A draft bill, according to the country’s federal budget laws, states that a draft bill cannot be submitted any later than November 11th, annually, where it can be reviewed by parliament. The deadline was not met this year (1); largely owing to the budgetary disagreement over the provision that decides KRG’s revenue allocation and the protracted security crisis. On December 3, a consultation session on the draft federal budget law for the year 2018, was convened in parliament. Majida al Tamimi, a member of Iraq’s Parliamentary Finance Committee, Majida Al Tamimi, urged members of parliament to put into writing “observations/objections’ and submit them to the committee (2). In the consultancy session, Tamimi stated “The suggestion to ask the GoI to review the budget is surprising to me … we should be the first people to read the draft”. She recommended a meeting between her committee and premier Abadi to quicken necessary proceedings. Parliamentary Speaker, Salim al Jabouri also referred to Article 128 of the Iraqi constitution; emphasising the role of specialised committees, to review the draft before it reaches parliament.

General defence budgets are available to the public in Jordan [1] through the General Budget Department’s official webpage. However, available documents do not include information on procurement/acquisition, disposal of assets, or maintenance of equipment budgets. The budget is completely missing areas mentioned in score 4. In addition to that, the defence budget receives little, if any, scrutiny from the legislature, and instead legislature recommendations are always to increase the defence budget [2,3]. It is also important to reiterate that the lack of an effectual Ministry of Defence makes it difficult for any accountability processes [4].

The general budget is presented to the legislature. In 2018, the legislature was able to approve the Government’s annual budget on the first day of the year [1, 2], which is an indicator of the budget being presented to the Parliament around two months before the start of the budget year. The 2018 budget also became available online on March 21, 2018, almost three months after its approval by the Parliament [3,4].

The defence budget is released to the public and it is available on the Finance Ministry’s website (1). However, it is highly aggregated and vague in details.

The ministry annually releases the budget of the defence and security sector’s expenses, which is relatively comprehensive and it details expenditure across a number of functions like “salaries; commodities and services; social benefits and capital expenditure,” along with a vague function described as “expenses and other transaction.” This applies to the Kuwaiti military, police and KNG.

These breakdowns do not include detailed information on training, procurement of arms, construction or military research and development, for example.

By the end of the year, the ministry releases a final report detailing the changes that they have made to the budget after with parliamentary approval (2).

The general budget for all state agencies, and not just the defence and security sector, 2018/2019 was 10 days late this year (1), but a lawmaker, officials and journalists said that the budget is usually presented at least two months before the budget year begins (2, 3, 4 and 5).

The sources said the budget is usually accurate and sent to Parliament on time but sometimes it contains vague terms or missing information, which they need to request from the concerned agency. The budget is usually vague, which means the accuracy cannot be fully determined.

This year’s delay was caused by the finance ministry and the petrol ministry, officials say, and they are usually the ones who are always blamed for delays.

The Ministry of Finance publishes the defence budget as part of the state budget on its website. In 2018, Lebanon passed its first state budget since 2005. The Ministry of Finance has a summary of the state budget under the “Citizen Budget” which has the top-line figure of the defence budget (1). The state budget includes data on the expected expenditures for the Ministry of Defence, including personnel (salaries, allowances), training, construction, maintenance of equipment, and administrative expenses (Ministry of Defence or other services) (2). Almost 80% of the LAF’s budget is allocated to pensions, salaries, bonuses, social security funds, etc. While around 20% of the budget is allocated to capital expenditures tied to infrastructure & LAF motor pool (3). The LAF is aid-dependent so equipment, ammunition, the sustainability of weapons, training, etc are given by foreign countries (4).

The Parliament receives information on proposed state budget after the government approves it. In theory, the MoF should issue a circular in April to government institutions and ministries requesting their proposed spending and revenues for the upcoming year. By May, all the concerned entities should have sent their requests to the MoF. The MoF drafts the budget and sends it to the CoM for approval, which should happen by October. The approved proposed budget then goes to the parliamentary committees to be studied and revised. The proposed budget should be voted on by November. According to the PAL, the parliament has to hold an exceptional parliamentary session to vote by the end of January (1). In reality, this does not happen in a timely manner. For example, the state budget for 2017 and 2018 was passed within 6 months difference (2). Furthermore, Lebanon’s budget for 2019, was approved by the CoM in May 2019 (3). On April 27, 2019, the minister of defence discussed the defence budget with the LAF officers before discussing it at the Council of Ministers (4).

The 2018 budget contains a superficial 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. However, 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. The report also underlines 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 bulk of the country’s military equipment is supplied by foreign partners, especially France.

The Malian fiscal year runs from January to December. The 2018 budget, which provides a basic breakdown of proposed annual defence spending, was published by the government in September 2017.² The National Assembly began considering the budget during the first week of October and approved it in December 2017.³ ⁴ The timely publication of the budget is not a one-off: in 2016, the government also published the forthcoming annual budget in September, more than two months before the start of the new fiscal year.¹

According to page 1538 of the 2018 Budget Law, the defence budget is divided into two categories: ‘staff’ and ‘equipment and various spendings’ (1).

Media coverage of the 2018 Budget Law does not cover in detail the armed forces budget (2)(3)(4)(5). Within these categories there is no detailed or comprehensive information available.

This indicator has not been assigned a score due to insufficient information or evidence.

Based on the lack of information, this sub-indicator is marked non-applicable. No evidence was found suggesting that members of the legislature in general or members of the commission on Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Islamic Affairs and Moroccan Residents Abroad received the budget plan. (1)

No evidence was found of a debate around the issue of defence budget among the various debate and examinations undertaken by the legislature (2). No information was found regarding the timing of the legislature receiving the Budget Law. However, no evidence was found that the legislature either receives no information, or it receives misleading or inaccurate information on proposed defence expenditures.

The Nigerien defence budget is published on an annual basis as part of the financial law available in the Official Journal, in a printed and online version. This shows key items of expenditure. According to the 2018 financial law provisions, the budget for the Ministry of Defence is divided into three sub-categories: control and administration of national defence policy (54 170 333 550, FCFA), securing national territory (72 589 000 000 FCFA) and peace consolidation (861 200 000 FCFA) (1). Relevant categories include such different sub-sections as recruitment, salaries, training, health services, military infrastructure, maintenance of equipment, armament and munitions acquisitions. The sub-sections provide for different lines on more detailed information regarding such details as fuel or even nature of important acquisitions (such as helicopters and armoured car) (2).  Therefore, the defence budget contains comprehensive information on expenses across functions, but some information, regarding expenditures by intelligence services, is not detailed and is often just marked as “other services and acquisitions”.
It should also be noted that some services related to security and defence respond directly to the Presidency and therefore do not make part of the “defence budget”. These fall under the sub-category “security of the President of the Republic”, and include: Presidential Guard, the CNESS, Chief of the Military Staff of the President of the Republic, Directorate General of Documentation and External Security of the State. The sub-category “administration control” include “Office of the Inspector-General of the Army and of the National Gendarmerie”, which also does not make part of the Ministry of Defence’s budget (2).
Therefore, the defence budget is transparent by showing key items of expenditure, but it lacks specific details on some budget lines, including the intelligence services.

The National Assembly is responsible for analysing the national budget and provides government oversight when it comes to drafting budgetary legislation, which is passed annually. The World Bank describes the procedure of the budget discussion as follows (1): The minister of finance submits a draft in the plenary session; in the week that follows, he submits the draft to the Finance and Budget Committee (CFB) of the NA over a period of about five or six hours and expands the draft to include the scrutiny of revenue, expenditures and public policies. The seven standing general committees, including the Security and Defence Committee, review the draft over three weeks and may suggest proposals for amendments. The CFB scrutinises the portion of the draft law that pertains to the Ministry of Finance. The committees may take the testimony of experts if necessary. The Finance and Budget Committee analyses the draft budget with the minister of finance, his associates and the director-general of the Ministry. The CFB then deliberates in plenary session, conducts the arbitrage and drafts a summary document that comprises of the report of the Finance and Budget Committee. The Chair of the Finance and Budget Committee submits the report to the minister of finance. The plenary session debate lasts three days. The session is public and broadcast over the radio. Following the initial discussion, amendments are then debated. However, the final bill is often very similar to the original draft submitted by the government.
According to the World Bank Report analysis, the National Assembly has enough time to scrutinise the budget: “if the draft is not submitted at the beginning of the budget session so that parliament would have two months to scrutinise it, parliament nonetheless has two months to scrutinise it after the date it is submitted; and, as of the beginning of the next fiscal year, the government may commit expenditures and collect revenue on a provisional or estimated basis” (1) .
Nevertheless, in spite of these provisions, according to the Open Budget Survey 2017, in general, the legislature provides limited oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and only weak oversight during the implementation stage of the budget cycle (3).

The defence budget is not comprehensive. The National Planning Office recently clarified that there was no padding – inclusion of an extraneous or unexplained item in the 2018 budget (1), (2). However, the Senate argued that expenditure items were inflated, duplicated and unexplained. In response the National Planning Office explained that the National Intelligence Agency operation budget line item referred to as “Fumigation and other services” was meant to conceal the true nature of operations which required security and or confidentiality (1), (2). The headline figures in the budget are not comprehensive as they do not cover purchases from Special Purpose Intervention Funds. The comprehensiveness of the budget is also questionable based on bogus expenditure items which are added to increase the funds required by MDAs (1), (2), (3).

Although the legislature receives a proposal for the Ministry of Defence, Defence Headquarters, and the military services (1), it does not receive budget proposals on time; and some ad hoc defence expenditures are made without appropriate legislative consultation or supplementary appropriation (2). Furthermore, major defence expenditure such as the acquisition of weapon systems is often not contained in the budget which renders the information inaccurate (2).

The defence budget from 2016 was reported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute as 16.7% of the GDP, up from 13.4% in 2014 (1). The defence budget in 2017 was 3,340 billion rials ($8.67 billion) totalling 29% of the overall budget, in 2018 it was raised to 3,440 billion rials ($8.93 billion) totalling 28% of the total budget as declared in the sultan’s Royal Decree 1/2018 (2). Despite a topline figure for the defence budget, there is no breakdown on functions or areas for past expenditure or project expenditure of the defence budget neither in the budget breakdown in the sultan’s royal decree or on the Ministry of Defence website (2), (3). The Times of Oman sets out the budget but makes no mention of the defence budget or spending within the descriptive outline (4). Internally, there is little information about the defence budget other than the news outlets based on foreign sources. The general figure is known, but it lacks a breakdown and has no detailed information (5).

The annual budget was discussed in mid-December 2017 by the Majlis al-Shura before being announced as a royal decree on the 1st of January 2018, according to the Oman Daily Observer (1). In the article, there is no reference to the al-Shura’s scrutiny of budget breakdowns (1). According to the Times of Oman, the al-Shura Council discussed the draft budget with the undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, presenting their queries and observations however no reference is made to any changes proposed or made neither is there any mention of discussions around defence budget or expenditure in 2017 (2). As stated in sub-indicator 1B, the al-Shura Council does not have the right to discuss security and defence-related issues (3), (4). According to our sources, the council does not have the authority to discuss the defence budget. It is undermined by the executive who has the ultimate power over the defence, mainly the sultan himself (4). No statements reflect that the legislature receives information about the defence budget or past expenditures concerning security and defence.

The general budget of the PA was published online until 2015 (1). In 2016 and 2017 the budget was not released. However in 2018, the prime minister issued a decree to publish all budgets of 2018 and previous budgets (1). The national forces detailed budget is not public, and other financial resources are not included in the budget (1), (2). However, a topline figure is published.

The legislature is not effective (1), and sessions have not been held for years. Therefore, the parliament has not received any information (1), (2).

In 2018, the Qatari government announced its overall budget for 2018, however, the budget does not include any breakdown. The website of the Ministry of Finance includes some information about the overall governmental budget [1]. The website includes brief descriptions for allocations for certain areas, such as the education sector, healthcare sector, transportation and infrastructure, in addition to some information about revenue and expenditure, but does not include further details. The budget that is publicly available includes no information whatsoever on defence budgets and expenditures. A report carried out by Open Budget Survey in 2012, highlights that Qatar severely lacks transparency, in relation to its governmental budgets, including the defence budget [2]. Qatar’s defence budget is linked directly to the Emir office and, therefore, it is difficult to be precise about what exactly is included. [3,4,5]

There is no evidence that the legislature (the Shura Council), represented by the Advisory Council, receives any information in relation to defence budget. In theory, the Shura Council should approve the budget, prepared by the executives [1]. The 2018 budget was approved on December 13, 2017, by the Emir through law no. 25 (2017), but there is no evidence whether this budget had been discussed, debated or approved by the Shura Council [1]. A Freedom House report revealed that although the State Audit Bureau prepares budgets and accounts for government institutions, it does not share their full details with the public or the appointed Advisory Council [2]. There is no evidence of the legislature receiving misleading or inaccurate information on proposed defence expenditures [3,4].

According to our sources, there is no detailed budget or aggregated budget of defence expenses available for the public (1). Another source confirms that the detailed budget not available for many of the MoD’s senior administration (2). Very few people are aware of the detailed budget. Saudi Arabia does not publish detailed information about its defence budget (1), (2). In December 2017, the Saudi Ministry of Finance stated that the government would spend SAR 210.0 billion (USD 56.0 billion) on defence when it released the 2018 budget, which represented a 10% increase on the SAR 190.9 billion approved for 2017, representing 21.5% of total expenditure (3). For the first time, the statement of the budget included limited details on how the defence budget would be spent. This included SAR 10.2 billion of the total allocated for “new development programs and projects”; SAR 26.5 billion allocated for activities aimed at enhancing military capabilities and readiness, such as developing military bases, with support for the local defence industrial sector also included within this funding. SAR 3.5 billion is also earmarked for the military education sector (4). Previously, annual reports published by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency provided only “top line” total information on the defence budget (5). Furthermore, the website of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries states that the government will spend SAR 6 billion on research and development by 2030 (6).

The International Institute for Security Studies estimated that Saudi Arabia spent 12.51 per cent of its GDP in 2015, 12.61 per cent in 2016, and 11.30 per cent in 2017 on military and another security spending (7). In May 2018, Saudi Arabia replaced Russia as the world’s third-largest military spender behind the United States and China, having spent USD 64.9 billion in 2017 (8). According to defence research firm IHS Markit, in 2018 Saudi Arabia spent USD 7.7 billion on defence, and that number was forecast to reach USD 10 billion in 2019 (9). According to a Gulf scholar who focuses on the political economy of the GCC, “There is no detailed information available, to my knowledge, of the defence budget at all in Saudi Arabia. General fiscal budget reporting is relatively new. One cannot find, for example, any public information on defence expenditure related to the conflict in Yemen. There is not itemized accounting within defence reporting” (10).

There is no evidence in the founding Royal Decree of the Majlis al-Shura (the rough equivalent of the legislature in Saudi Arabia), nor in its published meeting agendas, to suggest that it receives any information or proposals regarding defence budget expenditure, and this lies outside of the purview of the advisory body (1), (2). According to a former member of the Majlis al-Shura who served there for three years, “while the Majlis scrutinizes every other aspect of the budget, they are not allowed to scrutinize or study the defence budget in any way – nor have they ever done so during my time there” (3). According to the senior auditor within the MoD, report and information on budget and expenses are shared only with the office of the crown prince 4(4). They are confidential reports and not shared outside a closed circle of the office of commander in chief, crown prince and the head of the financial department (5), (4).

According to national security and defence expert Anthony Cordesman, there is “no meaningful transparency” in the Saudi defence budget, which he characterizes as a “major factor in allowing military and security spending to rise to unacceptable levels” (6).

According to our sources, the MoD budget is published in advance to the legislative and to the public for debate, however, it is not very detailed and does not cover all aspects or describe detailed expenditures. The military and MoD budget is mentioned as the total amount without details. However, salaries are mentioned in a seprate area of the budget(1,2). The 2017, 2018 and 2019 budgets are available online on the website of the Ministry of Finance (3, 4).

The Constitution states that “the draft finance law shall be presented to the Assembly no later than October 15 and it shall be adopted no later than December 10” (1). The legislature receives the State’s budget including the budget of the Ministry of Defence before 15 October of each year(2,3). The Parliament received the 2019 State’s budget on 12 October 2018 (2,3,4).

In November 2017, the UAE published the budget for 2018 through national media. The defence budget has been estimated at 6.2 billion dirhams, however, other than aggregated figures, no further details have ever been provided on defence budgets by the government (1). According to our sources, the announced budget is not an accurate figure as there are more offset contracts and aside budget items (unannounced) that come through the Office of the Crown Prince (2), (3).

As previously explained, the FNC is a consultative body in the country and has no power over approving the defence budget, as the defence sector falls under the power of the Federal Supreme Council (1). It has also been established that the FNC does not, in any way, provide oversight to the defence sector in the country. In addition to that, defence budgets are prepared by the cabinet and approved by the Emir (2), with no reference or acknowledgement of any role the FNC plays in this process (3), (4).

Country Sort by Country 12a. Comprehensiveness Sort By Subindicator 12b. Timeliness Sort By Subindicator
Algeria 25 / 100 25 / 100
Angola 50 / 100 50 / 100
Burkina Faso 25 / 100 0 / 100
Cameroon 50 / 100 100 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 50 / 100 0 / 100
Egypt 25 / 100 25 / 100
Ghana 50 / 100 25 / 100
Iraq 25 / 100 0 / 100
Jordan 50 / 100 100 / 100
Kuwait 50 / 100 25 / 100
Lebanon 75 / 100 50 / 100
Mali 50 / 100 100 / 100
Morocco 50 / 100 NEI
Niger 75 / 100 50 / 100
Nigeria 25 / 100 0 / 100
Oman 25 / 100 0 / 100
Palestine 25 / 100 0 / 100
Qatar 25 / 100 0 / 100
Saudi Arabia 25 / 100 0 / 100
Tunisia 25 / 100 100 / 100
United Arab Emirates 25 / 100 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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