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Defence budget to be decreased

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, January 8
The 2009 state budget envisages GEL 952 million for defence, a reduction of about 600 million on 2008. In 2007 the defence budget was GEL 1.5 billion approximately.

Since 2004 the country has spent more than GEL 4 billion on its defence alone. Some military experts express their regret that this huge amount could have been spent more efficiently if the amounts had been targeted more precisely, covering the exact needs for the country’s defence system. “If the personnel selection policy had been based on attracting professionals the outcome of the August war and the situation today would have been better,” says military expert Irakli Aladashvili. This should be regretted because it is unlikely that Georgia will be able to afford that much money for its defense needs in the near future.

Georgia’s neighbours are increasing their military budgets. In 2008 for instance the Azerbaijan defence budget was USD 1.859 billion. In 2009 Azerbaijan intends to increase this figure to USD 2.5 billion. Armenia’s defence budget in 2009 will be USD 493 million. A separate issue for Armenia is the defence budget for Karabakh, which is USD 50 million. It should be added that the hardware and ammunition Armenia receives from Russia is either very cheap or free of charge.