Q14.

Is the approved defence budget made publicly available? In practice, can citizens, civil society, and the media obtain detailed information on the defence budget?

14a. Proactive publication

Score

SCORE: 25/100

Assessor Explanation

Assessor Sources

14b. Comprehensiveness

Score

SCORE: 50/100

Assessor Explanation

Assessor Sources

14c. Response to information requests

Score

SCORE: 25/100

Assessor Explanation

Assessor Sources

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The government proactively publishes the finance law including an aggregated figure for the defence budget at the beginning of a fiscal year (1), (2), (3). In the months before, the Council of Ministers adopts the finance law and there are media reports on the aggregated figure of the defence budget (4), (5).

No information could be found during the research on how the defence budget breaks down. The finance laws do not provide any information on specific areas of defence spending (1) (2) (3). No additional information could be found, for example, on the Ministry of Defence website (4). As mentioned in 14A, media reports also just cover the aggregated figure as do international organizations, such as SIPRI (5).

Given the scare information on the defence budget as outlined in 14A and 14B, it seems very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain any further information on the defence budget. Journalists have lamented that they have difficulties accessing official information on security issues (1). Also, the Law of Information of 2012 (Art. 84) restricts the right of access to information, which is usually granted to journalists, but restricted concerning national defence secrecy (2).

The approved state budget that includes the defence budget and supporting documents are published on the Ministry of Finance’s website, in a summarized and aggregated form (1).

The Finance Ministry publishes the draft and final state budget. Though not comprehensive, the documents provide information in an aggregated form on different types of expenditure for the different branches of the military and the police (1). However, the defence and security budget regularly includes unspecified items with only summary expenditure information.

Notably, the state budgets from 2014-2018 all include unexplained budget items of “non-specified services” in the section of defence and security and public order (1), (2), (3), (4).

The summary defence budget section has also included the unexplained budget item of “Civil Defence” (Defesa Civil). The Organization of Civil Defence was created as a ruling party paramilitary structure during the civil war. Supposedly it has been disarmed since, yet it has shown up as a defence budget item (such as in the 2015 state budget), to be later replaced by the budget item “Protection and Security” (4).

Information requests by opposition parties during the parliamentary budget process on defence and security sector expenses have rarely been met with timely answers if any (1).

For instance, in January 2018, the head of the President’s Security Bureau and Minister of State, Pedro Sebastião, responded to questions from the opposition that in the defence budget for 2018 that 81% of the defence budget was earmarked for salaries (without providing any more detail). He also responded to questions from the opposition party UNITA over the alleged involvement of 5,000 President’s Security Bureau employees in acts of political violence in Cuando Cubango, that those military were not staff of the President’s Security Office, but former military integrated into the Office during past peace processes (2).

In November 2015, the Secretary of State of the Finance Minister, Alcides Safeca, explained in response to opposition party questions that the non-specified expenditures for defence and security were linked to infrastructure projects that for strategic reasons remained secret (3), (4).

The core issue with the defence budget is the fact that it is not often not released in a disaggregated form (1), (2), (3), (4), (5).

The defence budget is published annually along with the budgets of all other state institutions. The 2019 approved budget was published online and signed by the National Assembly on December 18, 2018 (2), (3). The approved defence budget is included in the state budget. For example, the 2019 defence budget and examination state the following:

“The State budget, financial year 2019, amounts to CFAF 2 213 290 331 000 in anticipation of expenditure and CFAF 1,954,564,429,000 in anticipation of revenue. In view of the difficult security situation in Burkina Faso, the shares granted to the defence and security have increased significantly. From now on, the budget of the Ministry of national defence and veterans passes from 169 936 320 000 F CFA in 2018 to 209 726,310,000 F CFA in 2019, an increase of 23.41%. For the security department, we fell from CFAF 71 644 839 000 in 2018 to CFAF 99 577 834 000 in 2019, an increase of 38.99%. According to Hadizatou Rosine Coulibaly / Sori, Minister of Economy, Finance and development, this increase is justified by the security situation” (4).

According to the World Bank Open Budget Portal (2005-2015), “Burkina Faso is the sixth francophone country in Africa to release budget and expenditure data to the public using BOOST. The Burkina Faso BOOST database provides disaggregated budget data of the central government from 2005 to 2015. The Burkina Faso BOOST database includes allocated, modified, committed, validated, ordered to pay and paid figures by different agencies of the central government. The data is disaggregated by administrative, economic, functional, geographic, sectoral, project classifications and also presents information on sources of funding.” “Data is available from 2005 to 2015, Data contains administrative, economic, functional, geographic, sectoral, project and source of funding classifications and Data presents six different stages of the budget cycle” (1).

The defence budget does not show the break down of the core components; it just presents the expenditures and the resources to mobilize to take care of these expenditures (1). According to SIPRI (2018), “military expenditures are expressed as a percentage of general government expenditures, and are for calendar years”. SIPRI goes further by explaining that Burkina Faso’s military expenditures represented respectively 6.1% of the government expenditures in 2015, 5.1% in 2016 and 5.1% in 2017 (2).

The defence budget is published annually along with the budgets of all the other state institutions, and it is available online (1). However, the defence budget does not show the break down of the core components; it just presents the expenditures and the resources to mobilize to take care of these expenditures (2). According to SIPRI (2018), “military expenditures are expressed as a percentage of general government expenditures, and are for calendar years”. SIPRI goes further by explaining that Burkina Faso’s military expenditures represented respectively 6.1% of the government expenditures in 2015, 5.1% in 2016 and 5.1% in 2017 (3).

According to Article 111 of the Constitution, “the Parliament can address to the Government questions on current events, written questions, [or] oral questions with or without debate”, following the principle of the responsibility of the government before the Parliament (4). However, the media, CSOs and citizens will not have their questions answered concerning those items that are not included in the budget published online.

The budget is published in the National Gazette and on the website of the Presidency of the Republic, which is accessible to the public, after it is passed into law [1] [2]. This means it is not proactively published. The budget is provided in a highly aggregated form [2].

Most areas of the defence budget are not publicly available. While the approved budget is made available, it is published in a highly aggregated form [1]. The 2018 Budget Law includes only the following vague breakdown under the Ministry of Defence: 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, with aggregate budget figures provided for each section [1].

In addition, there is no evidence of oversight by other suitable authorities. According to the most recent Open Budget Survey (Jan 2018), Cameroon received a score of 22/100 on budget oversight, with the survey noting that “the legislature and supreme audit institution in Cameroon provide weak oversight of the budget” [2]. Also, Cameroon’s Constituiion (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 legislature [3].

The Open Budget Survey has given Cameroon a score of 7/100 on budget transparency, noting that scant budget information is provided to the public [1]. Also, Cameroon’s constitution (Article 35) [2] and Procurement Code allow for a great deal of secrecy in regard to issues of defence and security. This, combined with the absence of any evidence of defence budget information being provided to the public, indicates that it is extremely difficult to obtain such information.

Although scarcely distributed, the budget is available via the Journal Officiel publications. according to an interview with an MP, it is a fact that the information available online does not provide sufficient details as to the various fields of expenditure of the MoD.

The full text of LPM 2016-2020 is not available online via open sources. The LPM, which consists of 20 articles outlining the government’s defence policy through 2020, was adopted by the NA on January 11, 2016, and should, in theory, be published and accessible to the public. According to secondary sources, the annual texts implementing the LPM budgetary guidelines are published separately (1).

According to a 2016 study published by Brussels-based Groupe de Recherche et d’Information sur la Paix et la Sécurité (GRIPS), the LPM does not provide budgetary guidelines for expenditure related to national security (Police, Customs, etc.). This is regulated by a separate law (Loi de Programmation de Sécurité Intérieure, LPSI). (2) The LPSI, published in the official journal on March 17, 2016, is available through open sources online (3).

The draft Budget Law for 2018, published in October 2017 and available online, provides highly aggregated allocations for defence and security, and it is published online and accessible to citizens. Table 5 (p. 17) shows the key spending elements: 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. It also indicates projected expenditure for fuel destined to the Armed Forces (CFA 13.8 billion), the operational costs at the Conseil National de Sécurité (CNS) (10 billion FCFA) and a global figure of 617.9 billion FCFA across other functions (4). The draft Budget Law for 2018 also mentions the budgetary guidelines of LPM 2016-2020 (p. 14). “In addition, the draft budget 2018 takes into account other priority investments of the Government, in particular under the Domestic Security Programming Law (5.8 billion), the Military Programming Law (30 billion FCFA)…” (4).

Although scarcely distributed, the budget is available via the Journal Officiel publications, but the information available online does not provide sufficient details as to the various fields of expenditure of the MoD. The draft Budget 2018 (projet de Loi de Finances) related to defence and security is highly aggregated.

Details of budgetary allocations in the LPM 2016-2020 are difficult or outright impossible to obtain. However, aggregate data is made available, which results in insufficient information for media and the public (1). Ivoirian media have reported on the LPM 2016-2020 by relaying the total aggregate figure of 2.254 billion FCFA for planned defence expenditure released by the government (2). The fact that different media sources have released the same aggregate figure suggests that reporters, civil society and citizens do not have access to a detailed breakdown of the defence budget, either via the LPM or its implementing laws.

According to our sources, the approved defence budget is not published by the government. They affirmed that even the published one item figure of the defence budget is not accurate, and is in most cases misleading. The published state budget (1) does not reflect the reality as in most cases, the budgets are published after it has been actualized (2), (3), (4). Only the topline figure of national budget allocation is made publicly available with little to no breakdown of the budget (5). Other revenue streams from lucrative military economic activities remain highly secretive (6), (7).

According to our sources, although the topline budget is published, there are no details and all areas in the defence section are absent and not mentioned in the budget (1), (2), (3), (4). Only the topline figure of national budget allocation is made publicly available with little breakdown. Other revenue streams from lucrative military economic activities remain highly secretive (5), (6), (7).

According to our sources, it is almost impossible to obtain any information about the military budget of the armed forces. There have been attempts to obtain this information by journalists, and they were imprisoned just for asking (1), (2), (3), (4). There is no known mechanism for requesting information regarding the military budget. Most MP’s do not have access to a detailed breakdown of the defence budget. Moreover, Egypt does not have freedom of information (5).

The approved defence budget is proactively published for the public on the Ministry of Finance’s website (1). The budget is published in a disaggregated form (divided into 3 programmes and 15 sub-programmes) and provides detailed information for each of the sub-programmes on objectives, functions, results, and a list of operations and projects. But some details are deliberately left out, and some items are vague (2), (3), (4).

The Budget contains comprehensive and disaggregated information, which is disclosed to the media and CSOs on expenditure across functions. However, the information available to the public is very vague. It mostly details the projects the ministry will be working on and recurrent expenditure, rather than specifics on procurement (1), (2), (3).

Programme 1 “Management and Administration” is divided into: “General Administration”, “Finance”, “Human Resource”, “Policy Planning”, “Monitoring and Evaluation”, “Defence Cooperation”, “Research and Information Management”; and “Veterans Affairs.” The information that is disclosed contains details of the procured items (ICT, equipment, vehicles, office furniture).

Programme 2 “Ghana Armed Forces” is divided into “General Headquarters”, “Land Operations”, “Naval Operations”, “Air Operations”, “Military Health Service”, “Defence Advisor”. Information is provided in a disaggregated form for all the sub-programmes except for sub-programme 2.1 “General Headquarters” which provides information in an aggregated form (“acquisition of operational vehicles”, “acquisition of defence stores”, “acquisition of weapons”, “acquisition of specialist vehicles”, “acquisition of surveillance equipment”, “procurement of computers and accessories”).

Programme 3 “Ghana Armed Forces Capacity Building” is divided into “Military Academy and Training Schools (MATS)”, “Ghana Armed Forces Command And Staff College”, “KAIPTC”. Information is provided in a disaggregated form for all sub-programmes (4).

Although the budget is transparent (1) not all aspects of the defence budget are publicly available to CSOs (1), (2). The Ministry of Finance does have a Public Relations Office that is supposed to answer citizens’ follow-up questions, but it is unclear how much information it provides.

The General Budget Department publishes the annual budget for the state of Jordan on its official website [1]. This budget includes defence budgets but does not necessarily include details. Some examples of the missing information include procurement/acquisition and disposal of assets. Interestingly, all defence budgets are round figures without an accurate breakdown. In general, the Parliament does not scrutinise defence budgets, and the opposite often happens as with the example of the Financial Committee encouraging further defence spending [2,3,4].

As explained above, the defence budget published online is lacking in detail, such as information around procurement/acquisition and disposal of assets [1]. However, the fact that the budget had to be approved by the Parliament and the financial committee, demonstrates that there is evidence of oversight, albeit superficial, as is the case with most information around defence in the country [2, 3]. Therefore, the authority of entities such as the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Committee, the Financial Committee and the Jordanian Audit Bureau remain questionable, especially as most matters of defence remain in the hands of the King, according to the Constitution. This means that even if the Parliament, or any other committee within it, disagree with the budget, the King can overrule their decisions [4, 5, 6]. There is still a defence budget available to the public, although it lacks detail, and that budget gets approved by the Parliament, although superficially.

There is very little information that circulates around security and defence issues in Jordan. In 2016, the Jordanian Armed Forces prohibited publishing news or information about the force, except for official statements by the media spokesperson for the armed forces [1]. There is no evidence of an entity that responds to information requests about defence budgets [2]. There is also little freedom in the country, which means that citizens, civil society and the media would hesitate before requesting information about defence budgets [3,4]. These restrictions and the immunity the defence sector therefore enjoys, given the lack of an effectual Ministry, makes it extremely difficult for people to request information [5].

The approved budget is published by the Finance Ministry every year in disaggregated form but often the categories that their expenses and revenues are divided into are vaguely worded (1 and 2).

The budget has little to no explanations in general and the language used is not easy to understand by non-experts. The Ministry also publishes the budgets and expenditure of these ministries for each month but it suffers from the same problems the annual report has (3).

Purchases are not tied to defence strategy.

Examples of vaguely worded categories of spending and revenues: “salaries; commodities and services; social benefits and capital expenditure,” along with “expenses and other transactions.”

Examples of language that non-experts may have difficulty understanding: “Current liabilities — amounts deducted from types of budget spending.”

Most of the budget is disclosed to the public, CSOs and the media but it does not come with a detailed breakdown of the expenses, explaining exactly where the money went (1, 2 and 3). But lawmakers and SAB officials have access to more details than the general public, which include the timeline of payments these ministries must abide by in acquisition details, for example, as well as more information about their property, and the cost of training and maintenance of arms, among other thing, auditors and activists said (4, 5, 6, 7 and 8).

It is extremely difficult to obtain information as a citizen through formal channels, especially since there is no freedom of information act in Kuwait, officials, activists and journalists said (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7). Even journalists and CSOs have a hard time pressuring the Government into releasing information about its defence spending in general. Journalists and CSOs actors can, however, coax information out of security officials informally.

The defence budget is found within the state budget and is made publically available in a disaggregated form on the Ministry of Finance’s website (1). However, it does not provide the government’s revenues and expenditure, in compliance with the Public Account Law (2). It also does not justify expenditures. It only offers the expected expenses for each department’s stationery and other running costs (3). As mentioned in Q13 Lebanon did not have a budget from 2005 to 2017 (4). The last published budget is the Budget Law 2018, the Lebanese Parliament has not approved the budget for 2019 (5).

The defence budget is fully disclosed and available online for the public on the MoF’s website as part of the state (1). A source confirmed that the defence budget available online is the same one received and approved by the Parliament and the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee (2). Furthermore, the CoA oversees the proposed budget by each ministry before the MoF combines under the proposed state budget for the CoM to approve (3).

No information was found on budget information requests. The Access to Information Law restricts information of sensitive nature such as national security and defence matters (1). However, the Ministry of Defence and the LAF command’s directorate of orientation, which is the first entity to submit questions, do not respond to information request in general. according to the al Gherbal Initiative’s report in 2018, the LAF command and the MoD did not respond to their information request though the organization only asked for basic information (2). Conversely, the LAF indicated that it responds to requests either with the answers or rejection (3). The DoO is the first point of contact and responsible for addressing any requests and questions (3).

The two most recent finalised defence budgets have been made publically available and widely published by domestic media. Detailed figures are provided, but explanations and justifications are largely superficial. The level of disaggregation is very modest, with overall spending broken down into broad, generic categories, such as ‘training’, ‘investment’ and ‘other expenses’. Most importantly, there is no information in the budget regarding what the ‘investment’ – which accounts for almost half of the total defence spend – is specifically for.

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. 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 2006.¹ 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 US Department of State determines that the Malian government generally affords citizens and noncitizens, including foreign media, access to government information.¹ It notes, however, that journalists often have difficulty accessing information on military procurement, contracts, or operations deemed sensitive by the government. The government may refuse a request by simply citing national security without being obliged to provide any further details.
If the authorities refuse requests for information, individuals can appeal to an administrative court, which must respond within three months. The government generally respects these rules, although officials sometimes request bribes to provide the desired information.
The editor of a national newspaper in Bamako told the assessor that the government will sometimes comply with requests for information, but only when it concerns information that will not embarrass them.² Otherwise it is virtually impossible to obtain any information from the defence authorities because of their readiness to invoke ‘secret défense’. The state is still experiencing a major crisis of confidence in the wake of what happened in 2012 and its ongoing inability to prevent attacks across large parts of Malian territory.²

The approved 2018 Budget Law (and its draft submitted by the Ministry of Finance) is proactively published for the public in French and Arabic on the website of the Ministry of Finance (1)(2).

However, according to page 1538 of the 2018 Budget Law, the defence budget is divided into two categories: ‘staff’ and ‘equipment and various spendings’ (1). Art. 22 mentions the creation of 4000 jobs under the authority of the Administration of National Defence, while art. 38 provides 84.462.000.000 DH of anticipated credits for 2019 directed towards the ‘purchase and repair of equipment belonging to the Royal Armed Forces’ (1). This budget also incorporates other aspects such as a “varied income” (ref. 1.1.0.0.034.000); the budget available for various military establishments (military hospitals, tele-detection centre, masks-manufacturing unit for the royal police-force, and storage of equipment – ref from 4.1.1.0.0.34.001 – 4.1.1.0.0.34.0011; 4.1.2.0.0.34.001 – 4.1.2.0.0.34.0011); the budget allowed for overseas peace-keeping as well as the budget for military cooperation operations (ref 3.1.0.0.1.34.001).

The same document offers some explanation of this budget, but it remains very superficial.

The approved 2018 Budget Law (and its draft submitted by the Ministry of Finance) is proactively published for the public in French and Arabic on the website of the Ministry of Finance (1)(2).

However, according to page 1538 of the 2018 Budget Law, the defence budget is divided into two categories: ‘staff’ and ‘equipment and various spendings’ (1). Art. 22 mentions the creation of 4000 jobs under the authority of the Administration of National Defence, while art. 38 provides 84.462.000.000 DH of anticipated credits for 2019 directed towards the ‘purchase and repair of equipment belonging to the Royal Armed Forces’ (1). This budget also incorporates other aspects such as a “varied income” (ref. 1.1.0.0.034.000); the budget available for various military establishments (military hospitals, tele-detection centre, masks-manufacturing unit for the royal police-force, and storage of equipment – ref from 4.1.1.0.0.34.001 – 4.1.1.0.0.34.0011; 4.1.2.0.0.34.001 – 4.1.2.0.0.34.0011); the budget allowed for overseas peace-keeping as well as the budget for military cooperation operations (ref 3.1.0.0.1.34.001).

Each of these elements fail to give a comprehensive understanding of the approved defence budget, as key areas of the defence budget are lacking, such as budget for personnel, equipment, running costs etc.

Moreover, there is no evidence that additional information is given to the media or CSOs (3)(4)(5)(6), and there is no evidence of oversight from other relevant bodies.

Both individuals interviewed on this topic reported that it was impossible to obtain any detailed information on the defence budget (1)(2).

This statement was supported by the lack of information offered in the press coverage of the 2018 Budget Law regarding the defence budget (3)(4)(5)(6).

The approved financial law is made publicly available in the Official Journal (1); it provides some budgetary explanation but does not clarify different types of expenditures in detail. Furthermore, the explanation component concerns the overall budget rather than focusing on security and defence expenditures. The Open Budget Survey commented in 2017 that, in general, since 2015, Niger has limited the public availability of the budget (2).

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 (at least for the past three years, 2015-2018). The budget details key items of expenditure. According to the 2018 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), peace consolidation (861 200 000 FCFA) (1). Some services related to security and defence respond directly to the presidency and therefore do not make part of the “defence budget”. These include the following: the 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” includes “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. Therefore, the defence budget is transparent, showing key items of expenditure, but it lacks specific details on some key budget lines, including intelligence services. 

Information on the defence budget, published in the Official Journal is generally made available to the public in the National Archives. However, more detailed information is not accessible. In the 2011 Administrative order documents are separated into “communicable” and “noncommunicable”, which implies a level of state secrecy (1). According to Art. 13 of the 2011 Administrative Order, certain categories of information cannot be accessed due to their confidentiality or due to potential public security hazards. It states:

“Details or documents which are not administrative in nature or purpose, and details whose disclosure can undermine the proper functioning of the administration and jeopardise privacy and private interests, including industrial and commercial/confidentiality, are not accessible or disclosable… [and]… any administrative details or documents whose disclosure could jeopardise, in particular:
– the confidentiality of the deliberations of the government and the responsible authorities of the executive branch;
– /national defence secrets;
– the conduct of Niger foreign policy;
– national, public and human security” (1).
(Consultant translation: French to English)

Nigeria has a poor score on the IBP Open Budgets Survey for 2017 (1). This indicates that budget transparency has reduced significantly since 2015 (1), (2). Few budget documents are published, and the details are not sufficiently disaggregated to enable effective scrutiny or review. Descriptions of budget line items are misleading or inaccurate. Transparency of the Budget continues to be an issue and was noted in the 2017 survey (1), (3).

Media sources often contain headline figures and some budget breakdown of the figures involved (1), (2).

Security concerns are often identified as the reason why information is not made available to the public. Freedom of Information Act requests are often ignored (1), (2), (3).

The defence budget is made public through the Sultan’s first decree of each year (1,5). However, no details are published concerning the breakdown of the budget on the Ministry of Defence website nor the Ministry of Finance website (2,3). Neither are defence budget details found in state media reports (4).

The defence budget made publicly available (1), but most areas of the approved defence budget are not publicly available (2). There is a complete lack of transparency in the breakdown of the budget, and the announcement does not provide any details about the general figure that is available (3), (4). According to our sources, the breakdown of budget is not even available for senior officers within the army, and it can change dramatically by Sultani Decree as it has happened in many cases (i.e. changes in the break down of the budget) (5), (6).

As established in sub-indicators 4A-C, civil society actors are severely limited to non-political activities in Oman through government licensing controls (1). Moreover, the Oman News Agency is the source for Times of Oman, Muscat Daily, and other papers in the Sultanate, therefore, media requests are unlikely. Civil society actors are limited in their activities, and threatened with imprisonment, as seen in recent cases where activists have been imprisoned (2). Both the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Finance have e-forms where one can make information requests (3), (4). However, it is difficult to know how effective information requests would be, moreover, the information requests on the Ministry of Defence appear limited to procurement details and the Ministry of Finance information requests are presented as “objections and suggestions”. Judging by the limitations faced by civil society actors, it can be argued that information requests are either difficult or impossible to make. Furthermore, even international NGOs such as the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute struggle to gain information about the defence budget or spending of Oman (5). According to our sources, CSOs are not consulted and do not have access to information on the defence sector. Asking for information about the defence sector can probably be seen as a crime (6), (7).

The budget is available online for the general expenditure, but without details (1).

The budget has public expenditures on security and national forces salaries, without further details. The MoF and the PM and President’s Office are aware of the security budgets and payment devoted to that sector, yet that kind of information is not available for public (1), (2). Available information indicates that more than 30% of the general budget of the PA goes to security and armed agencies. Most of the resources go to salaries with no further explanation (1).

It is challenging to obtain information from any ministry or national forces unit regarding financial issues (1), (2). The researcher attempted to contact the finance department and also the head of the National Forces (Al Amn Alwatani, and the financial department, “AlIdara Al Maliya); however, they refused to answer stating that the information could not be shared. However, they are sometimes more open with institutions and donors (3), (4).

The defence budget is not publicly available, and it is extremely difficult to retrieve any detailed information related to defence budgets. The government’s websites do not have any information on the defence budget. It is particularly difficult to access any information related to defence through official means, as there is no website or online presence for the Ministry of Defence’s affairs [1]. According to our sources, even senior level officers have no access to such information as there is no defined limit to the budget. As an officer put it ” It is an open budget” [2,3].

This sub-indicator has been marked as Not Applicable, because there is no defence budget published at all [1,2].

As there is no website for the Ministry of Defence and State Affairs in Qatar, there is no point of contact through which details about defence budgets could be requested. Additionally, the Ministry of Finance’s search engine does not show any results related to defence, and there is no access to defence budgets. According to Freedom House’s 2018 Country Report, official information is very closely controlled by the government, and the country lacks transparency in state and defence budgets. The State Audit Bureau does not share budget and government accounts with the public or with the Advisory Council [1]. ‘A 2016 law empowered the bureau to make some aspects of its findings public, but the security ministries remained exempt from its oversight’ [2]. According to our resources, any request for budget data from the MoD would not be answered with accuracy, if it were to be answered at all. The source added, “This information is confidential and not shared at all, even with other ministers” [3,4].

The full defence budget is not made publicly available, nor is it possible in general for citizens, civil society organisations or the media to obtain detailed information on the defence budget (1,2). According to our sources, the budget is available in abstract forms, but not available for CSOs, public or any organization. besides that, there are not active political CSOs in KSA(3,4).

According to our sources, the only available data on military expenses is an aggregated number. A detailed budget on defence has not been available to the public in decades (3), (4). In December 2017, the Saudi Ministry of Finance published information on the Saudi defence budget which included, for the first time, limited details on how the defence budget would be spent. Although, these details were very broad, for example showing that SAR 10.2 billion of the budget would be allocated for “new development programs and projects”, SAR 26.5 billion allocated for activities aimed at enhancing military capabilities and readiness, and SAR 3.5 billion earmarked for the military education sector (1). Previously, annual reports published by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency provided only “top line” information on the defence budget (2).

According to a financial auditor and another researcher whose focus is KSA, it is almost impossible to get information about the military budget. It is confidential information that could lead to arrest and imprisonment (1), (2). 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. In fact, 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” (3).
According to another expert on Gulf affairs, “The simple answer is no. There is no means to access detailed information on the defence budget. There is no freedom of information act to support requests by the public” (4).

According to our sources, the defence budget is published with very limited information. All data on the civil side of the MoD is published, however, military acquisitions and operation costs are not published in a detailed form that would allow scrutiny of the MoD budget(1,2). The defence budget is proactively published for the public in disaggregated form. It provides general information about key expenses, information about training, construction, personnel expenditures, acquisitions, salaries, and maintenance. However, the level of detail of this information varies according to the nature of the expenditure. For example, while detailed information concerning training and military hospitals exist, there is only general information about military acquisitions available. It is accompanied by an explanation of the budget intended for experts but there is no summary for non-experts. (3)

According to our sources, the MoD and MoF do not publish detailed information about the approved budget concerning the armed forces. In general, the MoF and MoD publish annual reports on the budget explaining the shares of the MoD from the whole budget. This share is the only part not publicly detailed of the budget but is subject to strict control by specialised services of the Ministry of Finance during budget execution and preparation (1). Besides that, there are no justifications of any item in the budget.

According to our sources, there is a change in the last few years about the capacity to access information related to the defence sector. CSOs, media, and researchers would be provided with data after convincing justifications. Sometimes such requests are denied based on national security and protection of sensitive data (1,2).The right of access to information is guaranteed by the constitution which provides that the state shall guarantee the right to information and the right to access of information (3). Also, the Organic law n° 2016-22 dated 24 March 2016, related to access of information, allows citizens the right to access the administrative documents of public entities (4). Access to some parts of the budget of the Ministry of Defence can be denied if the administration judges that it harms public security or national defence (5). The Ministry of Defence has a section on its website dedicated to the access of administrative documents, which specifies the persons in charge who should be contacted to exercise this right as well as the procedure and forms allowing one to exercise this right (6). However, there are no statistics available about the degree of responsiveness of the Ministry of Defence.

There is no information available for any organization or journalists on the defence budget. According to our sources, questioning or writing about the defence budget could be a crime, which is what happened to a British academic who was researching the UAE military (1), (2), (3). Therefore, there is a complete lack of information concerning the defence budget.

There is no defence budget publicly available, this sub-indicator is marked NA.

There is no possible way to obtain information about the defence sector budget in the UAE. The official government portal of the UAE and the website of the Ministry of Defence do not contain any information for a point of contact for information requests about defence budgets. In addition to this, the State Audit Institution does not release public information about its reports, and its remit is limited to federal entities and state-owned companies, yet no information about defence is published on its website. According to Freedom House’s 2018 Country Report for the UAE, “the government generally lacks transparency, and despite legal provisions, accessing public information remains difficult in practice” (1). According to our sources, an attempt to write or discuss the defence sector of the UAE can have serious consequences (2), (3), (4).

Country Sort by Country 14a. Proactive publication Sort By Subindicator 14b. Comprehensiveness Sort By Subindicator 14c. Response to information requests Sort By Subindicator
Algeria 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Angola 50 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Burkina Faso 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Cameroon 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Ghana 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Jordan 25 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Kuwait 25 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Lebanon 50 / 100 100 / 100 25 / 100
Mali 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Morocco 50 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Niger 25 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Nigeria 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Oman 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Palestine 25 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Tunisia 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 NA 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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