1st row; l to r; LTC Bill Ramsey, CPT John Yun, Amal Habeeb Asmaro, Ms. Audrea Nelson
2nd row; l to r; Maj Jason Corrothers, Capt Patrice Barth, COL Kenneth Hubbard
On May 2nd 2010, the Desert Eagle Chapter of the American Society of Military Comptrollers had the honor of meeting with Ms. Amal Habeeb Asmaro at Adnan Palace in Baghdad. Ms. Amal Habeeb is the Deputy Director of the Department of Accounting and Finance, Funding Affairs Directorate for the Iraq’s Ministry of Finance. She holds a Bachelor Science Degree in Accounting and Business from the University of Baghdad. This session allowed members to better understand the Government of Iraq’s (GoI) financial management processes at the strategic level as well as, issued faced in accounting for limited financial resources.
Ms. Amal Habeeb started her presentation with an overview of how the budget is set for the Fiscal Year. Within the financial realm in Iraq, the Fiscal Year is from Jan-Dec. She explained how the budget is set, how accounts established and used to disseminate funds across Ministries, and auditing procedures used to monitor requirements for all the Iraqi Ministries. Specifically, she provided an overview of the Government of Iraq’s (GOI) investment accounts to include accounts used to fund requirements such as vehicles and construction projects.
Upon allocating funds to each Ministry and their subordinate Departments, Ms. Amal Habeeb discussed how funds are disseminated within numerous accounts. “Prior to each Ministry or its internal Departments executing funds the auditing process must first take place to validate funds allocate. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) strict procedures allow full examination of funds initially allocated prior execution of funds and prior to additional funds being added to account balances. This process is to ensure that funds and specific limits are issued to the organization intended and are applied for the intended purpose.
In regards to the GoI participation in the US government’s Security Assistance, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, Ms. Amal Habeeb noted that only two Ministries actively acquire goods and services through the FMS program (The Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior). On rare occasions, the Ministry of Justice acquires goods/services through the FMS program. The process for budgeting for FMS projects works the same way for goods/services acquired through the normal acquisition process. The difference is that the funds are electronically routed to a Bank in the United States (Federal Reserve Bank) to allow for payment of the FMS acquisition/procurement. Ms. Amal Habeeb noted that “use of the USG FMS program has highly contributed to Iraq enhancing its security and rebuilding its infrastructure.”
Overall, ASMC Desert Eagle chapter members were enlighten to find that Iraq’s financial processes have many similarities compared with the US Government processes relative to budget planning, allocation of funds as well as, use of checks and balances for accounting for funds. Moreover, engagement with Ms. Amal Habeeb allowed members to better understand the GOI goals and initiatives enacted to aid the country in achieving its Minimum Essential Capability financially.