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Defence Minister declares budget increase in 2016

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, October 9
Georgia’s Minister of Defence Levan Izoria has stated that the funding allocated for the Defence Ministry from the state budget has increased by GEL 10 million, and will reach GEL 680 million next year.

Through in his statementthe Minister had to respond to the media reports and opposition criticism over the reduced budget of the Defence Ministry.

“The project [in media coverage] was implemented for the purchase of anti-missile systems for the last 4 years. Its funding has expired, but the budgetary financing for the Defence Ministry has increased, reaching GEL 680 million,” Izoria explained as he continued: “Therefore, we have met and surpassed the NATO standard on the allocation of 2% of GDP for the defence budget. We will also meet an important NATO standard, focusing 15-20% of the defence budget on armament in the future,” he promised.

The Parliamentary opposition has accused the current state leadership on focusing less on strengthening the country’s self-defence capacities.

The European Georgia and the United National Movement Parliamentary opposition claim that the “lowered interest” to the field of defence could be coming from Georgia’s ex-Prime Minister, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is “linked with Russia,” which occupies 20% of Georgia’s land.

The opposition states Georgia is still being run by Ivanishvili, who quit his post in 2013, after coming to power in 2012.

The 2016 budget of the Defence Ministry amounted to GEL670 million (667.3 million GEL in 2015;GEL 667.4 million in 2014;GEL 610.4 million in 2013; GEL 730.6 million GEL in 2012.