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Government-by-Government Assessments: Iraq

During the review period, the government made significant progress by following natural resource extraction regulations in practice.  Also, during the review period, Iraq’s political parties worked to attempt to establish a majority government following national elections.  Without a parliamentary majority, the caretaker government had no legal authority to propose a 2022 federal budget and was legally obligated to function under the 2021 federal budget.  The new government was formed in late October and did not pass a federal budget in 2022.  However, 2021 budget documents provided a substantially complete picture of the government’s revenue and expenditure.  The government did not publish an end-of-year report within a reasonable period.  The budget broke down expenditures by ministry as well as information on debt obligations, including major state-owned enterprise debt.  It did not include earnings from major state-owned enterprises.  The government reviewed the 2021 budget throughout the fiscal year and broke down expenditures to support executive offices.  The military and intelligence budgets were subject to civilian public oversight.  Although the government was bound to the 2021 federal budget during the review period, it assessed spending and passed a supplemental spending package that it made public.  Budget documents were comparable year-to-year.  The 2021 budget was not prepared according to internationally accepted principles.  The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence that verified the government’s annual financial statements and effectively followed up on findings, and it did not produce a timely audit of the entire annual executed budget.  The government specified in law the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses and made basic information on natural resource extraction publicly available.

Iraq’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:

  • Making its end-of-year report publicly available within a reasonable period;
  • Including in the budget revenues from major state-owned enterprises;
  • Ensuring budget documents are prepared according to internationally accepted principles; and
  • Ensuring the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence and audits the entire annual executed budget.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future