Q13.

Is there a legislative committee (or other appropriate body) responsible for defence budget scrutiny and analysis in an effective way?

13a. Formal rights

Score

SCORE: 50/100

Assessor Explanation

Assessor Sources

13b. Influence on decision-making

Score

SCORE: 0/100

Assessor Explanation

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No information could be found on whether the defence commission has the formal right to scrutinize the decision-making process on the defence budget. According to internal regulations of the APN and the Council of the Nation, Art. 22 only states that “the defence commission is responsible for matters relating to national defence” (1).

Generally, the parliament can introduce amendments to budget proposals from the executive. With regards to the state budget of 2018, the APN has introduced some amendments to the proposal of the Council of Ministers, yet they did not concern the defence budget (2). Given that the figure of the defence budget adopted by the Council of Ministers is the same as the final figure of the defence budget in the finance law (3) (4), the impact of the legislature in general and the Defense Committee specifically (even if it reviewed the budget), can be considered low.

In light of the fact that no information could be found on whether the Defence Commission has the formal right to influence the decision-making process concerning the defence budget, the sub-indicator has been marked Not Applicable. Internal regulations of the APN and the Council of the Nation, do not provide any information about its powers (1). Amendments introduced by the APN did not concern the defence budget (2), and its impact can be considered low (see answer the question 13A).

The 2nd Parliamentary Commission on Defence, security and veterans, under the regulations in force, has a formal mandate to conduct scrutiny on the “main activities” of the defence and security sector. However, the power of Parliament to conduct effective scrutiny on government policy and the state budget is restricted under the 2010 constitution and its interpretation by the Constitutional Court (1), (2).

The 2nd Parliamentary Commission is an advisory working group that is dominated by the ruling party and lacks independence and power to conduct effective scrutiny (1), (2).

The scrutiny of the national budget in general and the defence budget, in particular, falls under the purview of the Finance and Budget Committee (COMFIB) (1). Every year, the COMFIB receives the budget of all government institutions. It then reviews each budget, makes edits and recommendations, and propose solutions. When necessary, the COMFIB requests information and technical proposals from other committees (2). For example, the COMFID often requests an explanation from the Defence and Security Committee (CODES), asking for assistance in analyzing the defence budget (3). Therefore, the parliamentary committee, which scrutinizes the defence budget is primarily the COMFIB, and other committees are subsidiaries if their help is requested.

The Finance and Budget Committee (COMFIB) is responsible for conducting scrutiny on the defence budget (1). However, the COMFIB lacks sufficient power to influence decision-making regarding the defence sector budget (2). The incapacity of the COMFIB to influence decisions when conducting scrutiny over the defence budget also stems from a failure of the separation of powers, and from a legislative system that still heavily depends on the government. BTI (3), has already pointed this out by claiming that the “institutional separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches is guaranteed in the constitution, but has been significantly limited in practical terms” (3).

The National Defence and Security Committee is responsible for defence budget scrutiny and analysis. Although a National Defence and Security Committee does exist within the legislature, the Constitution (Article 35) states that the government does not have to provide information/explanations to the legislature regarding national defence/security of the state, in effect limiting any rights of scrutiny possessed by the committee (see 2c above) [1] [2].

In addition, according to the most recent Open Budget Survey (Jan 2018) the “legislative committees do not examine and publish reports on their analyses of the Executive’s Budget Proposal online” making it difficult to determine if any scrutiny takes place [3].

The Open Budget Survey also states that “the legislature provides weak oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and no oversight during the implementation stage of the budget cycle” [4].

According to the most recent Open Budget Survey (Jan 2018), the “legislative committees do not examine and publish reports on their analyses of the Executive’s Budget Proposal online” making it difficult to determine their influence on decision making. The Open Budget Survey also noted that the legislature did not offer any amendments to the 2017 budget [1].

The Open Budget Survey also states that “the legislature provides weak oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and no oversight during the implementation stage of the budget cycle” [2].

On January 4, 2016, the attending members of the CSD voted unanimously in favour of adopting the current LPM for the period 2016-2020. The NA website reported about CSD approval on its website, with statements by Minister of Defence Paul Koffi Koffi describing the document as an instrument tasked with deeply reforming the defence sector. He added that the LPM had been designed to professionalize the Army by 2020 via reductions in armed services personnel (1). According to Ivorian media, the CSD approved the reduction of armed services personnel from the current level of 41,515 to 40,000 in 2020. The rationalization of military expenditure will affect the Forces Armées de Côte d’Ivoire (FACI), while the number of police agents in the Gendarmerie Nationale will be increased until it reaches a ratio of one police agent per 1,000 inhabitants (2). Minister Koffi Koffi personally defended the objectives of the LPM 2016-2020 in front of the members of the CSD on January 4, 2016, as confirmed by a radio interview with RFI. During the interview, the minister argued in favour of reducing personnel in front of NA members of the Commission, stating that more money would be allocated to investments than to operational costs in the future (3).

At a brown bag lunch co-organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on January 28, 2016, at UNOCI headquarters in Abidjan, CSD Secretary Kouassi Kramo discussed the oversight role of the CSD concerning the adoption and implementation of LPM 2016-2020. Kramo stated that it was the first time that the CSD had managed to participate in the drafting stages of this type of legislation and that the CSD had taken part in the debates of the Conseil National de Sécurité (CNS) (4).
“To introduce the process leading to the adoption of this law, the NA member (Kramo) referred to how legislation is voted in the National Assembly. Once the Office of the National Assembly has received the Military Planning Bill and the President of the National Assembly has forwarded it to the Standing Committee (Committee on Security and Defence, CSD), one of the six standing committees, it is submitted for consideration. At this stage, the minister of defence goes before the CSD to present the law on programming. This presentation enables the CSD to formulate amendments, after which the law is passed in a plenary session. Concerning monitoring, the programming law provides for monitoring mechanisms in Articles 19 and 20. To this end, the Government will have to submit an annual report on the implementation of the said law during the voting of the budget law. Moreover, the oversight function devolved to the National Assembly enables it to set up a periodic consultation framework with the minister of defence (institutional exchanges), to invite the minister to parliamentary questions and to lead field visits. He stressed that the vote of the military programming law is a first in Ivory Coast.”

The Commission de Sécurité et de Défense (CSD) reviewed the LPM 2016-2020, voting unanimously in favour of its adoption on January 4, 2016. Though it is vested with basic formal rights to scrutinize the LPM, it appears that CSD attempts to influence the budgetary decisions are nonetheless subject to outside influence.

At a workshop at Yamoussoukro on 24 May 2017, CSD President Sidiki Konate stated that the soldier mutinies in Bouaké and other Ivorian cities in January 2017 had served to intimidate members of the NA in their attempt to implement the LPM 2016-2020, which foresees a reduction in armed services personnel. The workshop (co-organized by UNDP, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and USAID) sought to train the members of the CSD to improve their scrutiny of defence-related legislation. The workshop itself indicates that the CSD may have oversight deficits resulting from outside influence (1).

At a brown bag lunch co-organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on January 28, 2016, at UNOCI headquarters in Abidjan, CSD Secretary Kouassi Kramo discussed the oversight role of the CSD concerning the adoption and implementation of LPM 2016-2020. Kramo stated that it was the first time that the CSD had managed to participate in the drafting of this type of legislation and taken part in the legislative debates of the Conseil National de Sécurité (CNS). Again, the fact that a panel talk was organized to discuss the CSD oversight role suggests an external influence on its decision making (2).

According to our sources, no committee within the Parliament has the power to oversee and scrutinize the budget of the defence sector. Although there is a defence and budget committee, it has no power over the defence budget (1), (2), (3). There are committees for defence and national security, and planning and budgets in the Parliament. Both committees are invited by the NDF to “discuss” with voting powers (4), (5). However, the current president and deputy of the Defence and National Security Committee are former military generals, which undermines the principle of external and independent scrutiny (6).

This sub-indicator has been marked Not Applicable because, according to our sources, the defence committee has no power over the defence budget they do not debate or scrutinize the budget at all. The budget is a summary of one figure which is showed in the general budget, which means not giving any details about the budget details to be discussed (1), (2), (3), (4). It is difficult to determine whether attending the NDC budget discussion by the heads of the budget and defence committees would constitute an exercise of “informal influence”, but it most certainly would not be more than informal especially that the votes are only two (even after including the military head of the defence committee) out of 16.

Article103 (3,6) of the Consitution of Ghana gives Parliament a broad mandate of oversight, and in particular articles 174,178,179, and 187 also gives parliament the power to oversee the national budget (1).

Deliberations on the defence budget proposal belong to the competences of the Parliamentary Selected Committee on Defence and Interior (PSCDI, 18 members) together with the Parliament Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PSCPA, 25 members). The PSCDI has extensive formal rights to “examine all questions relating to defence and internal affairs” (2) but lacks resources and expertise.

There is no publicly available evidence of the PSCDI exercising its legal capacity to influence or closely scrutinise the defence budget. Records of the PSCDI introducing amendments have not been found. Parliament is tasked to approve or reject the government’s mid-year budget review, which is scheduled in July (1).

The oversight functions of the PSCDI are also limited by the constitution. According to Article 108 of the Constitution, the legislature cannot increase the budget; it can only reduce it (2).

In Jordan, there is no committee or entity that scrutinises defence budgets. Whilst this could be included in the mandates of the Integrity and Transparency Committee and the Finance Committee within the Parliament, as well as the Jordanian Audit Bureau, none of these entities can interrogate or scrutinise defence budgets [1,4]. The finance committee has formal rigths to scrutinize and analyse all budgets, but not the defence. Furthermore, the list of institutions and entities audited by the Audit Bureau includes the General Intelligence Directorate and the Public Security Directorate, but not the armed forces [2,3]. The official page of the House of Representatives in Jordan includes several reports presented to the legislature by the Audit Bureau.

This sub-indicator has been marked Not Applicable because there is no committee with formal powers to scrutinise defence budgets [1,2,3]. The finance committee has formal rigths to scrutinize and analyse all budgets, but not the defence [4].

Parliament’s Defence and Interior Affairs Committee has the right to scrutinise any aspect of the defence budget, demand information on anything it wants and summon the heads of security agencies or the Prime Minister for questioning, according to the constitution’s article 112, 101 and 102 (1) and the internal laws of Parliament article 76 and 147 (2). The committee can summon Government experts or the Parliament’s in-house experts, who are civil servants who are likely to be pro-Government, according to article 46 of the PIL (2). The law does not address the possibility of summoning an independent expert.

But article 147 cautions that the executive branch only has to cooperate on matters that are “under the jurisdiction of the Parliament.” This term is problematic because the Parliament’s specialties are not explicitly defined in the constitution or in Parliament’s Internal Laws, which offers these institutions a loophole through which they can escape parliamentary oversight, officials and activists say.

The SAB is also supposed to oversee every aspect of the defence policy but it does not usually fully assess performance or the political and social impact of their policies, like Parliament (3).

The defence committee reviews the budget and it has the means to take these institutions to task about their spending, but they often do not, partly because if their line of questioning becomes aggressive, they would be risking the disbandment of their chamber, but also because all five members of the committee are close to the executive branch, and many believe they might be, like other lawmakers before them, receiving bribes from it, officials and journalists said (1, 2, 3 and 4).

This is partly the result of the law Kuwait passed in 2016, which banned politicians accused of insulting the Emir from running for office, which ensured that lawmakers who are currently in Parliament are all pro-state (5). (Most politicians that are independent and critical of the authorities in Kuwait have been charged and found guilty of insulting the Emir.)

Since the lawmakers rarely ever offer substantial suggestions to these ministries, these ministries almost never have to revise their policies.

But on paper, the committee along with the rest of the Parliament have the right to review any procurement deal and refuse to approve funding for it. If these ministries feel strongly about the Parliament, the Emir can step in and approve the deal, according to article 70 of the constitution (6), bypassing the committee and Parliament as a whole.

The National Defence, Interior, and Municipality Committee is not responsible for scrutinizing and analysing the defence budget. The Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee is responsible for reviewing and studying the state budget proposal and the budgets attached to it (1), which includes the defence budget. A source confirmed that the defence parliamentary committee does not receive the defence budget to study and scrutinize (2). According to Article 43 of Parliament’s rules of procedure, the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee asks other particular parliamentary committees to meet when reviewing the budget related to its role (3). The committees then note down its comments on the budget. The head of the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee has the right to represent the committee’s comments to the parliament before voting on it (4).

As noted in 13A, the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee is responsible for reviewing the budget proposal for the specific year before it’s raised to the Parliament to be voted on. The Committee, when discussing the defense budget proposal, calls on the defense committee to join the dicussion. At that time, representatives of the LAF are also present in addition to the Minister of Defence. Members of the parliamentary committee discuss internal security and municipalities issues, besides defense matters.(1) According to a former Member of Parliament and a member of the parliamentary committee quoted in an interview, the committee avoids discussing defence issues and focuses on internal security (2). A source asserted the law of parliamentary committee’s influence on the decision-making process (1).

In parliament, the military budget is first examined by the Defence and Security Committee. The CDSPC invites the directors of all the main divisions of the armed forces, the army chiefs of staff, the army joint chiefs of staff and the Minister of Defence for discussions on the mission, the annual objectives and the budgetary requirements of the armed and security forces.¹ The committee has the power to propose amendments to the budget or a reformulation of the military’s objectives. The draft budget is then presented to the National Assembly for debate and voting.

SIPRI’s study in 2006 found that “there is little evidence that the process of budgeting is either transparent or consultative. State budgeting is still largely a private affair of the executive, with limited room for accountability.” It concludes that this is partly a result of the large proportion of power conferred on the executive by the constitution.¹
With the president’s son still serving as the chair of the defence and security committee, this remains the case.² While the CDSPC might be able to exert influence over the budget, it is simply not in a position to credibly challenge the executive’s spending plans given this obvious conflict of interests.
The assessor found no evidence to demonstrate that the CDSPC exercises meaningful control or oversight over defence spending. For instance, when news of the scandal concerning the CFA40 billion overspend on a new presidential jet emerged in 2014, it was civil society organisations rather than the CDSPC that were leading the calls for accountability.³ Unsurprisingly, the president’s son was not among those demanding that the executive publish details of the controversial purchase.
This view is confirmed by the editor of a Malian newspaper, who says the committee has no meaningful influence on decisions.⁵ A member of the CDSPC informed the assessor that the committee routinely examines the annual defence budget, before returning the legislation to the National Assembly for ratification.⁶

There is no Defence committee within Parliament. However, there is a parliamentary Commission on Foreign Affairs, national defence, Islamic affairs and Moroccan residents abroad.(1)(2)However, this Commission on Foreign Affairs, national defence, Islamic affairs and Moroccan residents abroad lack any formal power according to internal regulations of the Lower Chamber of Parliament (Chambre des Représentants), including formal powers over the defence budget.(3)

The defence committee has no formal powers, therefore this sub-indicator is Not Applicable.

The Nigerien National Assembly (NA) is constitutionally vested with formal rights to carry out oversight of all government actions; it can vote on all legislation, including defence budgets (article 114 of the Constitution). According to both the Constitution and the Internal Rules of the NA, the body also exercises a security budget approval function and a budget execution control function (1,2). Even though the NA is tasked with scrutiny and analysis of the state budget, by itself the budgetary analysis is not explicitly included in the list of functions of the Commission de la Défense et la Sécurité. 

According to Open Budget Survey 2017, the Niger legislature provides limited oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and weak oversight during the implementation stage of the budget cycle (1). Interviewees also confirmed this, by stating that the Committee cannot oversee the implementation process because it does not have all the necessary information (for example, it does not have the technical capacity to verify prices of military equipment) (2).
The assessor found no direct evidence indicating that the Committee exercises influence on defence budget decision-making, especially when the lack of technical expertise among Committee members is taken into consideration. However, the situation may change in the future, given the growing cooperation between DCAF and the Committee examined in other sub-indicators.
 

The House of Assembly has considerable powers set out in the Constitution to form committees to oversee the functions of government, including those of the MOD. The Defence Committee has the power to call any person to appear before it (1). But there is no evidence as to the precise extent of the powers of the Senate to scrutinise military budget (2).

The Defence Committee does formally review the defence budget (1), (2), but the review is subject to political influences and gains (3), (4), (5).

There is no legislative council in Oman, the al-Shura is only a semi-consultative body. It has not discussed or reviewed any of the defence budgets. If they have discussed defence budgets, it was not thorough and there is no report of the discussions (1), (2). In 2015, the State Council accepted a proposal to form an ad-hoc committee dedicated to studying draft budgets, scrutinise the annual budget of 2016 and the draft 9th five-year plan 2016-2020 (3), (4). In November 2017, the Economic and Financial Committee studied the draft budget before it was submitted to the Majlis al-Shura (5). The al-Shura website, on the Economic and Financial Committee page states “the committee shall be tasked with studying and giving opinion[s]” on economic and financial policies, plans, draft laws and proposals including economic development projects in the state budget and five-year development plan (6). The mandate is restricted to economic and financial policy and as stated the committee acts to study and offer opinions; it has no formal rights to change policy. According to media reports (4), (5), the economic and financial committee is tasked with scrutinising draft budgets. No mention is made to their formal rights over the budget, nor is any reference made specifically to their mandate to study the defence budget. In sub-indicator 2A, a Defence, Security and Foreign Relations Committee is highlighted; however, this committee is not on the Arabic website, and no information exists about this committee (7). There is no defence committee dedicated to budget scrutiny; the Economic and Financial Committee that scrutinises the budget has no formal rights vis-à-vis studying the defence budget.

This indicator has been marked Not Applicable because there is no legislative committee responsible for defence budget scrutiny.

The al-Shura has no influence or any impact on the decision-making process within the armed forces, and therefore, the work of any committee is irrelevant to the decision making of the armed forces. There is no committee responsible for defence budget scrutiny and analysis (1), (2).

As there is no active legislative council, there is not any active committee; military or non-military (1). The legislative council is caught amid political division between Fatah and Hamas, where Israel imprisons many MPs which make it hard for Hamas and the PLC to have enough members to meet actively.

This indicator has been marked Not Applicable because there is no active legislative council.

The legislative council has no effective scrutiny or influence on any of the national security or national forces (1). The Parliament has been inactive since 2007, and the executive has replaced the Parliament in almost all aspects of political life.

The Advisory Council, which is not a legislative body, does not have a committee that scrutinizes the defence budget. There is no legislative committee that has formal powers over the defence budget. The legislature has five main committees, 1) Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee, 2) Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, 3) Services and Facilities Committee, 4) Internal and External Affairs Committee, 5) Committee for Cultural Affairs and Information. However, none of these committees have any responsibility related to the defence and security budget. Matters related to Ministry of Defence affairs and the armed forces do not get scrutinised and/or audited [1,2]. The Emir, who is also the chief commander of the armed forces, has the final say in relation to approving budgets. Defence budgets are handled with extreme secrecy and are highly confidential [3,4].

This sub-indicator has been marked as Not Applicable as there is no legislative committee responsible for defence budget scrutiny and analysis [1,2].

As noted above, there is a Security Affairs Committee in the Majlis al-Shura, which has the power to summon and question government ministers (1). However, there is no evidence to suggest that this committee or the Majlis al-Shura as a whole, which is a consultative body, has any control or influence over military and defence spending. According to our sources, the Majlis has no authority to scrutinize the defence budget or oversight over defence expenses in any way. The defence budget, is in the hands of the Office of the Crown Prince no one can oppose or question it (2), (3).

According to the Security Affairs Committee’s publicly available agendas detailing various meetings in the second year of its seventh term, the committee members gave their opinions on the annual reports of both the Ministry of Defence (4) and the Ministry of the National Guard (5), the latter of which is responsible for the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a branch of the country’s military. However, there is no indication that the members discussed budgetary matters relating to these two bodies.

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” (6).

It is unclear whether the unelected CPSA (see above) in turn has responsibility for defence budget scrutiny. Its mandate as described in Saudi government literature includes raising efficiency and coordination between various government bodies and ministries; as well as accelerating decision-making mechanisms, following up on implementation and drawing future trends (7), (8). No mention is made of any oversight concerning defence and military budgets.

This sub-indicator has been scored Not Applicable as the legislative committee has no formal powers.

According to our sources, neither the Majlis nor the anti-corruption committee has formal authority or influence on the decision making process on the budget or other administrative decisions. The CPSA, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is unlikely to function as an independent check on the central government’s defence policy (1), (2).

The General Audit Bureau (GAB), a Saudi government entity, has at times scrutinized Saudi defence and military spending. The GAB’s charter encompasses auditing the budgets of all Saudi ministries and departments; however, it is unclear if this extends to the ministries of defence and interior (3). In late 2017, in conjunction with the government’s anti-corruption purge, the GAB published a report which claimed to reveal large financial irregularities in one of the departments of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. This reportedly included violations relating to payroll, allowances, financial benefits, recruitment, and contracting (4). However, this appears to be an ad hoc audit rather than an example of formal authority or influence over the defence budget, and was likely prompted by Mohammed bin Salman.

According to our sources, the Tunisian Parliament has more than one committee that have the right to scrutinise all matters related to the budget of the defence and security sector(3,4). The committees have the right to access and ask for documents and also question the Minister of Defence(3,4). Article 93 of the rules of procedure of the National Representatives Assembly established a special committee named “Security and defence committee”. This committee monitors all files and issues related to security and defence (1). There is also a finance committee (named finance, planning, and development committee and chaired by a member of the opposition) in charge of projects and issues related to the budget, loans and financial affairs of the state including the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence’s budget is submitted to this committee (2).

Legally, the defence and security committee has the right to scrutinise and analyse the budget, however, in practice evidence of effective scrutiny could not be found. According to our sources, there are some confidential meetings within these committees that discuss the defence budget, but they are not publicly available and no reports have been issued from such meetings that we are aware of (1,2). The review of the report of the defence and security committee shows that this committee didn’t discuss issues related to the defence budget (3). The finance committee reviews the budgets of all Ministries including the Ministry of Defence.

There is no legislative body such as a parliament responsible for issuing, discussing and drafting laws, or reviewing any budget. It is a consultative body that has no authority or power to discuss the defence budget (1), (2).

This sub-indicator has been marked as Not Applicable. Despite the existence of a defence committee within the FNC (the consultative body), the committee lacks formal powers and for this reason; an assessment of influence on decision-making is irrelevant in this context (1), (2).

Country Sort by Country 13a. Formal rights Sort By Subindicator 13b. Influence on decision-making Sort By Subindicator
Algeria 0 / 100 NA
Angola 25 / 100 0 / 100
Burkina Faso 50 / 100 50 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100 0 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 50 / 100 50 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 NA
Ghana 100 / 100 25 / 100
Jordan 0 / 100 NA
Kuwait 75 / 100 0 / 100
Lebanon 25 / 100 25 / 100
Mali 100 / 100 25 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100 NA
Niger 50 / 100 0 / 100
Nigeria 50 / 100 50 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 NA
Palestine 0 / 100 NA
Qatar 0 / 100 NA
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 NA
Tunisia 100 / 100 25 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 NA

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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