OBS Tracker MENA Oct 2014 -- June 2015
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1/2/2014Iraq's 2014 Budget Bill and Kurdistan shareAn early analysis entitled "Analysis Report of the 2014 Budget Bill of Iraq and the Share of Kurdistan Region", <a href="http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/01022014">published at Kurdish media outlet Rudaw</a>, highlighted that the Kurdistan Region's share from Iraq's 2014 budget is 9.9 percent. The report was produced by Gorran, the region's Change Movement. The report was released as Kurdistan's government continued negotiating to win the 17 percent allocation specified in the constitution and resolve other oil and budget disputes with Baghdad. Gorran also sent the report was to the Kurdish parliament.http://openmena.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Rudaw-analysis-Iraq-budget-2014.pngScreenshot from Rudawtitle
5/4/2014Security services drain Palestine's budgetAccording to various <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/05/palestine-gaza-security-services-annual-budget-finance-aman.html">reports</a>, Palestine's security services continue to receive the bulk of the Palestinian Authority’s annual budget, to the detriment of other vital sectors. MEMO, the Middle East Monitor <a href="https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/11264-security-agencies-consume-palestinian-authority-budget">highlighted that</a> "spending on security represents a significant burden on the budget amid serious reservations from the private sector."http://openmena.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/MEMO-Palestine-security-budget-2014.pngScreenshot from MEMO
10/1/2014Egypt published second ever Citizens BudgetEgypt has published a Citizens Budget for the Enacted Budget for fiscal year (FY) 2014-2015. Moreover, the Egyptian Ministry of Finances met with IBP staff and Egypt's OBS Tracker partner,
and committed to improving fiscal transparency and accountability. The IBP brief continues: "They described their plans to launch an online portal with financial data and analysis; and to send text messages to the public each time a new key document is posted to the portal. They also described the planned 'Know your Budget' campaign which will see budget information disseminated through national daily papers." The document can be accessed <a href="http://www.mof.gov.eg/MOFGallerySource/Arabic/PDF/Citizen_Budget.pdf">here (PDF, Arabic)</a>.
http://openmena.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Egypt-Citizen-Budget_2014-20153.pngCover page, Egypt's first Citizen Budget for the Enacted Budget for FY 2014-2015
10/1/2014Citizens Budget to improve transparency<a href="http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/112188/Business/Economy/Egypt-launches-citizens-budget-to-improve-transpar.aspx">Ahram Online reports</a> that the last time the finance ministry issued a citizen's budget was in 2010. The report adds that "in 2012, Egypt stopped publicly issuing the executive's budget proposal and the mid-year review, in the aftermath of its January 2011 revolution." According to then-Finance Minister, Hany Qadry, this is the second citizen budget ever issued in the country (first was published in 2010).http://openmena.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/AO-Egypt-Citizen-Budget-report.pngScreenshot of Ahram Online report
11/1/2014Budget documents produced but not made publicIraq and Palestine each produced a Pre-Budget Statement and an Executive's Budget Proposal in FY 2014 but did not make them publicly available. These documents were thus for internal use only. https://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/7027596629/in/photostream/Tax Credits on Flickr, CC-by 2.0
11/11/2014Iraq failed to agree on 2014 budgetThe security situation in the country and negotiations with Kurdistan's government were a huge challenge to Iraq's government which failed to agree on and enact a budget for 2014. An <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/11/iraq-state-budget-economic-financial-problems.htm">Al-Monitor piece discussing Iraq's challenges with approving the 2014 budget</a>, notes that "the delay in the 2014 budget approval was affecting Iraq’s economic growth. [...] The Iraqi government has to realize the great danger surrounding the Iraqi economy, as the delay in approving the budget has led to economic recession, especially in the fields of investment and operation. Moreover, the private sector, which includes more than 4 million employees, has been crippled."http://openmena.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Iraq-2014-budget-issues.pngScreenshot of Al-Monitor analysis
12/1/201412/27/2014Iraqi budget withheldThe IBS signals that Iraq continues to restrict their Executive’s Budget Proposal to internal use only, highlighting that "in late December last year, the government released some information on the proposal to the newspaper Al Sabaah. While this does not meet international standards for making the Executive’s Budget Proposal publicly available, it is a small step in the right direction." A summary of the Executive's Budget Proposal has been published in the Official Gazette on 27 Dec 2014, but the full document was not publicly released. At that time, the last Enacted Budget to have been publicly released was so in March 2013. A Citizens Budget has not been released though. For 2014, the country thus relied on the 2013 Enacted Budget. https://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/7027596629/in/photostream/Tax Credits on Flickr, CC-by 2.0
1/29/20152/1/2015Iraq published the Enacted Budget for 2015<blockquote>"Iraq’s parliament has approved the country’s 2015 budget following weeks of debate on lower oil prices and how to write in a landmark oil export deal reached last year between Baghdad and the northern Kurdistan region. [...] Since December, parliament meetings to approve the 2015 draft budget have been bogged down by debate, mostly over what oil price to base the budget on and how to account for exports from the semiautonomous Kurdistan region."</blockquote> <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/iraqs-parliament-approves-2015-budget-following-oil-price-debate-1422560208">The Wall Street Journal</a>
3/18/2015Egypt published its first Pre-Budget StatementThe Pre-Budget Statement for the upcoming FY 2015-2016 provides important details regarding the government’s macroeconomic assumptions used to set policy. The document does not seem available at the Ministry of Finances website but <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1cfHQD9njkrcVR3RThMM29Rb2M/edit">can be accessed through the OBS Tracker library</a>.http://openmena.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Egypt-PBS.pngScreenshot of cover page
5/6/2015New tools for old problems<blockquote>"In a country where more than 20 million people are living in poverty, addressing the long standing patterns of socio-economic exclusion—which appear to be becoming even further entrenched—is more urgent than ever. In the absence of official channels for citizen engagement, there is a pressing need for alternative avenues to foster public debate, mobilize for action and strengthen social accountability. Our aspiration is that, by leveraging our collective strengths in the creation of this new tool, we can make a small, but significant contribution to this end."</blockquote> (<a href="http://www.cesr.org/article.php?id=1724">The Director of 'Rights Claiming and Accountability Program'</a> at the Center for Economic and Social Rights)
5/17/2015Palestine published an emergency budget<blockquote>"Gripped by financial crisis, the Palestinian government said on Tuesday it was putting an emergency budget in place for 2015 due to the absence of pledged international aid and Israel withholding its tax revenues. 'The general budget law for 2015 comes amid complicated and tough conditions, as the treasury is suffering a choking financial crisis,' a Palestinian cabinet statement said."</blockquote> <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/17/us-israel-palestinians-budget-idUSKBN0MD1U620150317">Reuters</a>
6/1/20156/20/2015Egypt finally releases budget for 2015-2016In the beginning of June 2015, the Egyptian Ministry of Finances was yet to announce the draft budget for the next fiscal year (FY) 2015-2016 even though it starts on July 1. The main reason for the delay in the announcement is the budget deficit for FY 2014-2015. <a href="http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/06/18/update-egyptian-cabinet-approves-budget-draft-for-fy-20152016/">Read more</a>https://twitter.com/ACmideast/status/613062668740472832
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