The Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is running up to GEL 113 million “deficit”, new Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said on Saturday.
“We met some problematic issues [in MoD]; there is about GEL 113 million deficit in the defense budget. My working group has elaborated proposal on how to get out of this crisis and I will present these proposals to the Prime Minister [Bidzina Ivanishvili] on Monday,” said Alasania, who met MoD’s senior officials and army top brass on October 27.
Details of MoD’s budget “deficit” were not clear. MoD’s 2012 budget is set at GEL 676.5 million.
“I will present details about this deficit next week,” Alasania said.
Alasania, whom the Parliament confirmed on the post together with the new cabinet on October 25, said that increasing the Georgian army’s combat capabilities would be a priority.
“We will protect peace, but to protect peace we have to be in constant combat readiness,” he said.
He said “de-politicization” of the MoD would also be a priority and he himself would quit chairmanship post of Our Georgia-Free Democrats, party which he founded in 2009 and which is now a member of the parliamentary majority Georgian Dream coalition.
Alasania also vowed to increase transparency of the MoD and civilian control over the ministry and the army. The new government’s program envisages submitting on regular basis reports, including on defense spending, to the Parliament and introduction of a post of military ombudsman.
Alasania reiterated that Georgia would remain committed to ISAF operations in Afghanistan.
“Lots of reforms have been carried out in the defense sector; some of them were successful, others not. We will build our work on the successes and on the principle of continuity,” Alasania said.
He said that he would take final decision about whom he would appoint as deputies of defense minister after the meeting with PM Ivanishvili on Monday.
Alasania said that military and defense production was mainly of superficial nature used by the previous authorities for “PR purposes”, but added that he would study this sector in details and it would be his goal to promote local military industry.