Equatorial Guinea - Military Spending

In 1979, six members of the National Guard that he commanded, including one of his brothers, had gone to Macias in Mongomo to ask him to release some of the money in his suitcases to pay the men and officers of the National Guard, who had gone without wages for some time. Infuriated by their impertinence, Macias had them shot, whereupon Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo decided that a coup was the best form of defense.

According to Freedom House, the budget process was “opaque.” The Open Budget Survey for 2012 gave the country a score of zero, the lowest possible result. The law does not provide for general public access to government information, although it requires the government to turn over unclassified information about its activities to news agencies and other media outlets if requests are deemed legitimate. Citizens and noncitizens, including those employed by foreign media, generally were unable to access government information. A lack of organized recordkeeping, archiving, and public libraries also limited access to government information. Copies of the country’s laws were obtainable only at the Public Records Office, but fees were high, and many laws were unavailable there too. There is no mandatory disclosure of procurement information, and no bids were announced or awards made publicly available. There was no registry of companies banned from participating in the procurement process, and there was no public access to the financial records of state-owned companies.

The government spent 6.5% of its annual budget on defense in 2000 and 4.5% of its budget on defense in 2001. In 2009, military expenditures were estimated at 0.1% of GDP. The government spent 6.5% of its annual budget on defense in 2000 and 4.5% of its budget on defense in 2001. It acquired some Chinese artillery pieces, some Ukrainian patrol boats, and some Ukrainian helicopter gunships. Secrecy extendeds to all institutions of the state, Parliament, relevant government agencies, and state-controlled media. Essentially, the people of Equatorial Guinea, and those ostensibly elected to represent them, are systematically denied the chance to know about, opine, or even defend their economic, political, or environmental rights and/or interests.

Decree No. 10/2011 of 20 January, which sets the pricing basis for works of the State; in the same vein, Act No. 5/2012 of 16 November governing the Audit Court, whose key role is to review and control the accounts kept by persons responsible for the public purse, and to demand accountability and transparent information from all persons who administer government funds or funds put at their disposal by the Public Treasury. The State has progressively increased the proportion of public spending devoted to the social sectors, which amounted to 3.9 per cent of GDP in 2009, 22.9 per cent of the total budget for 2010, and 22.4 per cent in 2012.

Budget preparation for recurrent expenditure starts in late March when the Budget Directorate sends ministries procedural instruction for the drafting of their budget proposal for the coming fiscal year under 45 days dateline for submission. In this process, the Budget Directorate acknowledges expenditure allocation in the previous budget as a baseline, and ministries only need to justify proposed expenditure increases. In June, ministries meet in individual negotiations with the MFB to discuss their proposal only on deviations from the baseline. All proposals are then consolidated by the Budget Directorate and sent to the council of Ministers in August, where remaining disagreement are discussed and Ministers can raise new expenditure claims and disagreements are settled by the Prime Minister, or ultimately by the President.

Once the Council of Ministers and the President ratify each comportment of the budget, the Budget Directorate sends the draft law to parliament before the end of August for discussion in the September session, If the budget law is not enacted by parliament before the beginning of the budget year, the government operates on the basis of the previous year's budget until parliament convenes again in March, when an Amendment Budget Law is proposed to parliament.

In the context of the lack of control at the level of commitments, it is common for payment claims to be made for commitments incurred by ministries or agencies for which there is insufficient or no appropriation. In such cases, if the activity is deemed of high priority or it has already been contracted for, it is common for spending to be authorized on the basis of supplementary legislative or administrative procedures.

In May 2006, the Bush Administration announced a new program directing the Defense Department to help 20 specified countries build up their military forces. One was Equatorial Guinea. Despite a terrible human rights record, a reputation for corruption, and their own oil wealth, the administration proposed spending U.S. taxpayer dollars to build up the Obiang regime's military. Indeed, President Bush asked for a provision in the DOD authorization bill approving the funding. A number of Senators objected, and Equatorial Guinea was removed from the provision in the Senate bill.

According to the World Bank, military expenditures data from SIPRI are derived from the NATO definition, which includes all current and capital expenditures on the armed forces, including peacekeeping forces; defense ministries and other government agencies engaged in defense projects; paramilitary forces, if these are judged to be trained and equipped for military operations; and military space activities. Such expenditures include military and civil personnel, including retirement pensions of military personnel and social services for personnel; operation and maintenance; procurement; military research and development; and military aid (in the military expenditures of the donor country).

Excluded are civil defense and current expenditures for previous military activities, such as for veterans' benefits, demobilization, conversion, and destruction of weapons. This definition cannot be applied for all countries, however, since that would require much more detailed information than is available about what is included in military budgets and off-budget military expenditure items. (For example, military budgets might or might not cover civil defense, reserves and auxiliary forces, police and paramilitary forces, dual-purpose forces such as military and civilian police, military grants in kind, pensions for military personnel, and social security contributions paid by one part of government to another.)

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