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Bangladesh - Military Spending

As of 2012 Bangladesh's annual defense budget was only $1.6 billion. Modernization of the Armed Forces is one of the major commitments of the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the Defence Minister of Bangladesh. In February 2009 the newly elected government announced an ambitious procurement plan, including anti-tank and anti-ship missile systems, aircraft for maritime patrol, frigates, tanks and helicopters. A parliamentary committee agreed in principal the 10-year plan in June 2009.

Bangladesh is working through a military modernization plan, which includes looking to partners for affordable defense systems, especially to supply its Special Operations Forces and disaster relief equipment. This modernization effort provides an opportunity for other countries to expand security cooperation, especially through the US Excess Defense Articles program, which makes US equipment that is surplus to our requirements available to partners.

Because it has been in power almost continuously since 1975, the military has been in position to channel resources to the defense sector. According to A.M.A. Muhith, a former Bangladeshi finance minister and a critic of the military, "the defense establishment has become virtually unaccountable and has appropriated a disproportionate share of resources for its perpetuation and enrichment." Muhith asserts that whereas public spending increased ninefold between 1974 and 1986, defense spending during that same period increased more than twentyfold.

The army received the best treatment. According to 1985 data, the army received over 50 percent of defense outlays. Moreover, army personnel strength has tripled since 1975. Navy and air force expansion has been less spectacular, although their capital outlays for such high-cost items as ships and aircraft represented an onerous economic burden. Analysts calculate that actual outlays for defense were considerably higher than published government budgets suggested.

Nevertheless, the armed forces continued to experience severe economic constraints. The defense budget for fiscal year 1989 totaled US$290 million and was the largest budget item, accounting for 17.2 percent of the national budget. In per capita terms, Bangladesh spent about US$3 per year, or about 2 percent of its gross national product, on defense. By any standard, this was a small sum for a military establishment numbering just over 100,000 personnel under arms. Foreign procurement took 15 to 20 percent of the defense budget. Recurring costs, such as training and pay, accounted for more than 50 percent.

In the proposed budget for FY 2009-10, the government announced that it wanted to restructure the countrys defence system to ensure security of the country and the people and continue to improve defence capability. Enhanced provision in terms of higher training, modern military hardware and other facilities for the army, navy, air force and border security forces will be provided, so that they are fully prepared to face the challenges of the 21st century, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said in his budget speech on 11 June 2009. The finance minister proposed increasing the original allocation of Tk 7,967 crore for FY 2008-09 to Tk 8,196 crore in the revised budget and allocating Tk 8,382 crore in the budget for FY 2009-10.

In order to build up the Army, Navy, and Air Forces as prudent and efficient forces, modernization is essential. To protect the national sovereignty and security, it is necessary to acquire essential arms, ammunitions, and modern war-equipment in order to increase capability of the Armed Forces. Further, it is essential to impart training related to modern war techniques and to expand application of information technology for increasing efficiency of the defence forces. Therefore, modernization of the forces has been given priority.

With a view to encountering climate changes, adverse impact of climate changes on agriculture and natural disaster, prediction and warning is given regarding excessive rainfall, floods, drought, hailstorms, depression in the sea, tornado and cyclone. Besides, in order to face earthquake disaster, forecasting and Tsunami warning is provided to the government and the public. It is therefore essential to strengthen the activities related to weather observation, warning, digital mapping and space and distance observation through best application of modern technology and researches. As such, weather observation, research and warning system is given the second priority.

Services of the Inter-Departments are essential in order to increase the capability of the Armed Forces and their modernization. Therefore, it is necessary to expand and improve the standard of services for increasing capability of the Armed Forces. For this reason, activities of the Inter-Departments are given priority.

(Taka In Thousand) Budget 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Non-Development 11814,71,16 12607,87,25 14135,74,36 15785,40,59 17736,94,34
Development 307,79,00 365,58,23 355,60,54 401,43,10 343,75,34
Total 12122,50,16 12973,45,48 14491,34,90 16186,83,69 18080,69,68
US $$ Total $ 1,480,000,000 $ 1,584,000,000 $ 1,769,000,000 $ 1,976,000,000 $ 2,207,000,000

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