Government-by-Government Assessments: Iraq

Iraq spent the first five months of the review period under a caretaker Prime Minister.  The new government, formed in May 2020, did not draft or pass a 2020 budget.  In the past, the government made its enacted budget and end-of-year report available online, but it did not publish its executive budget proposal.  Only limited details regarding debt obligations were publicly available.  Available budget documents provided limited details regarding allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises.  The government maintained off-budget accounts subject to limited oversight.  Actual revenues and expenditures did not correspond to those in the enacted budget, and the government did not revise its budget estimates or pass a supplemental budget.  The supreme audit institution audited the government’s executed budget.  The supreme audit institution, however, does not meet international standards of independence and has not published audits of budgets since fiscal year 2013, and the audits lack substantive findings and recommendations.  The national government awarded natural resource extraction contracts or licenses as guided by the Constitution.  In the absence of implementing laws and regulations, the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses were unclear.  Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was publicly available. Iraq’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:

  • publishing budget documents within a reasonable period of time;
  • publishing its executive budget proposal and detailed information on debt obligations;
  • ensuring budget documents include substantially complete information on allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises;
  • subjecting off-budget accounts to oversight and audits;
  • revising budget estimates and passing supplemental budgets when actual revenues and expenditures differ significantly from the enacted budget;
  • ensuring the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence;
  • producing and publishing audit reports of the government’s executed budget, including substantive findings and narratives, within a reasonable period of time;
  • specifying more concretely in law or regulation the process for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses; and
  • following those laws and regulations in practice.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future