Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said he is “optimistic” that MoD will see funding increase next year as discussions on initial draft of 2015 state budget are still ongoing.
“I had a substantive discussion not only with the Finance Ministry, but with the entire cabinet as well; I had several meetings with the Prime Minister specifically on this issue,” Alasania said on October 6 while speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi after meeting with his Lithuanian counterpart Juozas Olekas.
“I have a reason to be optimistic that increase of defense funding will be possible,” Alasania said, but added that it now too early to specify how much of funding might be added to MoD.
Initial draft of 2015 state budget, submitted to the Parliament last week, allocates GEL 625 million for MoD, less than sought by the Ministry of Defense. During confirmation hearings of reshuffled cabinet in late July, Alasania told lawmakers that he would seek 11% increase in MoD’s budget next year. The initial draft is subject to revisions before it is put on vote in Parliament in late December.
Funding for MoD in 2014 was initially set at GEL 660 million, but it was downsized to GEL 615.9 million after several scientific research institutes and Delta military industrial complex were transferred from MoD’s subordination to the Ministry of Economy. In 2013 MoD’s funding was set at GEL 660 million, but GEL 610.4 million was actually allocated; figure stood at GL 730.6 million in 2012 and at GEL 711 million in 2011.
“Of course we should taken into consideration that all the sectors are important and there is no area on which we can say that it is of less priority, but defense and security is important because stability is needed for the other sectors to develop. So we have understanding from the Finance Ministry and the rest of the cabinet and I suppose that the MoD will have upward trend [in funding] at the time when this ongoing [budget planning] process is over,” Defense Minister Alasania said.