Budget slash would threaten security: Defense ministry
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said Wednesday that the country’s security would be at risk should the government not live up to its commitment to implement the so-called Minimum Essential Force policy.
Under the policy, introduced by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last year, the government plans to disburse Rp 150 trillion (US$17.55 billion) over the next three years to maintain national security, particularly in border areas.
Approximately Rp 100 billion of the overall budget will be disbursed via state planning agency Bappenas, while the rest will be part of the ministry’s annual budget allocation. So far the ministry is set to receive Rp 2 billion of Rp 11 billion initially allocated for this year due to budgetary constraints. Purnomo is demanding the rest.
"We are doing our best to convince legislators how important this fund is for us in order to be able to improve our way of safeguarding the country. Anything less than the requested amount could jeopardize the country's security, particularly border security," Purnomo told reporters after a hearing with the House of Representatives defense commission.
At the meeting it was revealed that the ministry would likely get approval for Rp 2.5 billion only this year. As a result, Purnomo said, the ministry would have to make spending priorities.
"We will meet again tomorrow, only this time between the technical teams from both the defense ministry and the House's defense commission. We will break down the items and scrutinize them one by one," he said.
Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.