Monday, March 4, 2013

Myanmar's controversial defense budget approved


Monday, 04 March 2013 16:45 Mizzima News

The Ministry of Defense's budget provision of more than US $2.6 billion for the fiscal year of 2013-14, or a fifth of Myanmar's national budget, was approved at Parliament on March 1.

A guard of honour marches during a flag-raising ceremony to mark Myanmar's 65th Independence Day at the People's Square near Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon on January 4, 2013. (AFP PHOTO)

Steven Tharbeik, an MP from the Chin State constituency, proposed that the defense budget be reduced to 17 percent of overall spending, however, the proposal was rejected by a majority parliamentary vote.

Speaking with Democratic Voice of Burma last month, Pe Than, representing the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) in Myebon Township, said that “The defense budget is 20.86 percent—the highest percentage—of the national expenditure. The government did not provide much detail for the allocation.” He added that MPs did question the Ministry’s lack of accountability.

“We were never going to see radical change under a top-down transition process—so incremental cuts on an annual basis is pretty much in line with expectations,” said Professor Ian Holliday, the author of “Burma Redux: Global Justice and the Quest for Political Reform in Myanmar”, speaking to Mizzima.

The Special Funds Law is still in place, which allows unlimited funding to the military without parliamentary consent.

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