Bangladesh Army - Budget
A report of the Army, analysing the allocations and expenditures of the past four fiscal years was placed before the parliamentary standing committee on defence ministry on 28 May 2009. The report said the acute shortage of fund stood in the way to modernisation of the force, as defence purchase of Bangladesh Army was dependent on a derisory 6 percent of the fund allocated for the force while over 83 percent of the share is spent on salaries, allowances, services and supplies.
The report said Tk 192 crore has been allocated in the four fiscal years since 2005-06 for procuring armament and ammunition against the army’s requirement of Tk 403 crore for purchasing ammunition alone. It said 65.79 percent of the allocated fund was spent on salaries and allowances of the force in 2004-05, 69.30 percent in FY 2005-06, 72.03 percent in FY 2006-07 and 64.52 percent in FY 2007-08.
For services and supplies, which include pension, uniform, food, etc, 15.43 percent of the fund has been spent in the last four fiscal years since 2004-05. The expenditure was 14.30 percent in FY 2004-05, 15.91 percent in FY 2005-06, 15.90 percent in FY 2006-07 and 15.59 percent in FY 2007-08.
The report termed the budgetary allocation very inadequate for modernising the force as only 5.6 percent of the allocated fund was spent on defence purchase in FY 2004-05, 5.9 percent in FY 2005-06, 5.1 percent in FY 2006-07 and 7.2 percent in FY 2007-08.
The defence purchase for UN peacekeeping mission was on an average 8.46 percent in the said four fiscal years.
The report said the army could never meet its needs for ammunition because of budget constraints. The force sought Tk 70.49 crore for just purchasing ammunition in FY 2005-06, but only Tk 1.41 crore was allocated for procuring both armament and ammunition. In FY 2006-07, the army got Tk 68.48 crore for purchasing armament and ammunition against a demand of Tk 61.56 crore for ammunition alone, Tk 79.97 crore in FY 2007-08 against a requirement for Tk 133.21 crore, and Tk 43.27 crore in FY 2008-09 against a demand of Tk 138.43 crore.
The report also focuses on the shortage of manpower in the force and says talented youths are discouraged to join the army as facilities in the civil and corporate professions are better than those in the military service. It suggests making the military service attractive by increasing salaries and other benefits. The report pointed out that the number of engineer battalions is very inadequate for implementing development activities in different parts of the country. There was also a shortage of equipment to deal with natural disasters like flood, cyclone and earthquakes.
Referring to the “Forces Goal 2020?, a set of goals outlined in 2004 for the modernisation of the army in accordance with the country’s economic reality, the report said accomplishing those goals will help plug the force’s organisational shortcomings and increase its operational capacity. Bemoaning the fact that the lack of fund is making those targets harder to attain, the army maintained that the government should approve the Forces Goal 2020 in principle.
The report mentions that the defence budget of India is 2.38 percent of its GDP, 3.2 percent in Pakistan, 6 percent in Sri Lanka, 3.3 percent in Myanmar, and 1.7 percent in Nepal while it is only 1.1 percent in Bangladesh.
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