The Defense Ministry’s 2007 budget will increase from the current GEL 513.2 million to GEL 957.8 million (about USD 566.7 million), according to the draft amendment to the 2007 state budget.
Increased defense funding will make up to 6% of the country’s GDP.
The amendment, which was discussed by the parliamentary committee for defense and security on May 1, envisages an increase in total government expenditures by GEL 641 million (approximately USD 379 million), of which GEL 444.6 million will go to the Defense Ministry.
If approved, the amendment will pave the way for the highest defense budget in Georgia’s history. The Defense Ministry’s budget was GEL 604.7 million in 2006.
Opposition lawmakers complained at the parliamentary committee hearings on May 1 that the defense budget is not transparent, as the proposed amendment does not provide any detailed breakdown of spending. It only says that the increases are needed to foster the country’s NATO integration and to enhance its defense capabilities.
Levan Nikoleishvili, the Deputy Defense Minister, told lawmakers on May 1 that most of the additional funding for the Defense Ministry will be spent on the purchase of weaponry and ammunition and GEL 60 million will be allocated for a housing program for military officers.
The Interior Ministry is also expected to benefit from the increased budgetary expenditures, as it will receive an additional GEL 67 million.
GEL 12 million will be allocated to the Education Ministry for a school rehabilitation program and GEL 20 million will go for energy sector rehabilitation projects.
GEL 30 million will be allocated for repaying the country's foreign debts.