Syria/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.3 Allocation of public funds

The Ministry of Finance initiates the first step in the process of preparing the draft budget. The Ministry circulates a communiqué addressing public administration and bodies and Ministries to prepare a draft budget in accordance with instructions included in the note. Accordingly, ministries prepare their budget projects and refer them to the Ministry of Finance.

Following collection of draft budgets of concerned Ministries, the Ministry of Finance integrates amongst them all and prepare one draft Budget including estimations of expenditure and revenues and submit it to the Cabinet, which, in return, refers the general draft budget in its final form to the legislative authority to be examined and endorsed. The Ministry of Finance has the right to modify the drafts presented by the Ministries and Public Administrations and Bodies in line with the reality and needs of these bodies, and with the financial capabilities of the State on condition that this is done within the framework of the plan and following consultation with the concerned Ministry and the State Planning Commission.

The People Assembly is the body entitled to endorse the country general budget. Article 74 of the Constitution has supported this role by stipulating that: “The draft budget is submitted to the Assembly two months before the beginning of the fiscal year. The budget is not in force unless it is approved by the Assembly”.

Versus to this exclusive right granted by the Constitution to the legislative authority for endorsement of the general budget, the executive authority, on the other hand, has broad financial liabilities in terms of opening temporary approbations on a monthly base, and amending the provisions of the budget.

The Minister of Interior initiates the deliberations on the draft budget at the People Assembly during which he outlines the fiscal policy of the government, the reasons behind setting forth the draft budget as it is. He further presents an analytical study of the figures on expenditure and the revenues, and compares them with figures of the previous year. Following that, the Speaker gives the word to members of the Parliament to have their free talks and comments on the draft budget. With completion of deliberations, members of the Parliament vote on referring the draft budget to the Committee of Budget and Accounts for examination and endorsement. If adopted, the draft budget is referred to the Committee in accordance with Assembly bylaws Article 119 that stipulates “Following submission the government fiscal statement on the draft budget, the Speaker gives the platform to the members of the Parliament to express their opinions and general comments. At the conclusion of the deliberations, the Speaker asks for voting on referring budget to the Committee of Budget and Accounts. If adopted, the draft budget should be referred to said Committee.

The Committee of Budget and Accounts[1]: Nominated as such by virtue of the Assembly bylaws, this body has been granted the authorization to examine the draft budget, and all ordinary, subsequent, developmental, and private budgets, beside to currency banking rate. The mandate of this Committee is restricted only to examine the draft budget and accounts.

Article 129 of the bylaws of the People Assembly stipulates that “the Speaker should introduce all sections of the draft budget for examination and vote one by one. The draft budget is only endorsed, by following discussing expenditure and approving them, next discussing revenues, finally endorsing the draft budget. The President of the Republic passes the draft budget law adopted irrevocably by the People Assembly to put it into force in the final form.

[1] According to the Syrian legislation, the Budget and Accounts Committee is entitled to wide authorities. The draft budget should be referred to the Committee following presentation of the fiscal statement by the government and comments by members of the Parliament. The Committee presents its amended draft law to the Assembly to be discussed. The People Assembly is not entitled to discuss the draft law of the budget presented by the government, but rather entitled to discuss the one proposed by the Committee of Budget and Accounts. The Committee presents its report on the draft law of the budget within a 30-day period as of the date of receiving the draft law. In case the period was expired before the Committee has completed its report, it should ask for an extra period of time from the Assembly, accompanied with due reasons and justifications. If the Assembly found the request of the Committee worth observing, it agrees a 10-day-extention time at most.  In case the Committee did not submit its report during the extra period of time, the Assembly discusses the draft law of the budget as referred by the Executive authority.

Chapter published: 06-05-2016