In 1852, whilst voting the 9 January 1852 law on State accounting, the creation of a treasury service was deemed superfluous in light of the low activity in operations. The General Revenue (Recette générale) and the Finance department offices sufficiently performed the task at the time. In the 1930s, however, the need for a special independent body proved valuable. The 19 February 1931 law concerning the organisation of the Chamber of Accounts (Chambre des comptes) and the General Revenue established that henceforth the General Revenue would be attached to the Chamber of Accounts, except for the cash operations service and the custody of funds and titles. This service would remain entrusted to the Savings Bank under the name of General State Fund (Caisse générale de l’Etat).
Following the radical separation of cash and accounting operations introduced by the 1931 law, the creation of a special service had become indispensable. The studies then undertaken and the envisaged reform consisted in the creation of a treasury service within the attributions of the Finance department, overtaking in its duties the execution of all measures concerning the administration of State finances, as well as the management of general accounts, comprising budgetary and treasury accounts.
The new service became the liaison body among the Finance department, the General State Fund, State accountants and the Chamber of Accounts. This solution led to the integral adoption of a fundamental principle of public finance management gaged in a triple proposition:
- only cash operations to funds;
- treasury operations, with regular oversight of accountants’ activities, to the Finance department;
- judicial and all-encompassing oversight of all financial services to the Chamber of Accounts.
These reflections led to the vote of the 27 July 1936 law on State accounting. The General Revenue service was henceforth divided into two distinct services:
- the General State Fund, which remained entrusted to the Savings Bank: its services including all cash operations and the conservation of funds and securities;
- the Treasury department responsible for treasury registries, general accounting of finances and oversight of the General State Fund management as well as State accountants.
Finally, pursuant to the 8 June 1999 law on the State Budget, Accounting and Treasury, the treasury service is finally reformed, giving birth to the current State Treasury. The General State Fund, which service had hitherto been ensured by the State and Savings Bank, is integrated in the State Treasury. Pursuant to this law, the State Treasury retains henceforward a key position in the new financial organisation.
The mission of the Consignment office is triple:
- receive assets to be consigned pursuant to a law, a regulation, a judicial or administrative decision;
- secure the custody of the consigned assets; and
- return the consigned assets to its entitled beneficiary or to the State when the prescription period is reached.
Accounting and Payments
The Accounting and Payments departement:
- carries out the general and budgetary accounting of the State. To this end, it centralizes all revenue and expenditure operations of the State, as well as all movements on State accounts and all variations in the financial heritage of the State;
- executes law enforcement on seizures, transfers and summons due by creditors to the State;
- ensures the payment of all State expenses, other than those paid directly by the extraordinary accountants and by the accountants of State services under separate management;
- collects revenue stemming from treasury management and specific non-tax revenue, which can be assigned by the Minister having the Budget in his attributions;
- centralizes all other State revenues;
- checks the concordance of payments made to the State Treasury by public accountants of the Administration des contributions directes, of the Administration de l'enregistrement, des domaines et de la TVA and of the Administration des douanes et des accises, with the figures recorded in the monthly accounts of the aforementioned accountants.
The Financial management departement:
- manages the State's financial assets and the State's financial commitments;
- ensures the management of funds and assets which conservation is assigned to the State by laws or regulations;
- must be informed of the issuance of any financial guarantee by the State and of any acquisition by the State in the capital of an establishment, a company or an institution, may it be of private or public law, national or international. For this purpose, it manages the registry of guarantees granted by the State, of State’s shareholdings and of other financial assets. This registry indicates in particular the outstanding amount as well as the timeframe of the granted guarantees;
- holds the securities pertaining to the State's shareholdings;
- performs the accounting control on extraordinary accountants and on accountants of State services under separate management.