Sri Lanka plans record defence spending

Oct 10, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka plans to hike overall defence spending by 20 percent to a record 1.48 billion dollars amid a rise in fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels, according to a bill tabled in parliament on Wednesday. More than 5,500 people have been killed since December 2005, after a 2002 Norwegian brokered truce unravelled. Defence spending in calendar 2008 would total 166.44 billion rupees (1.48 billion dollars), up from an estimate of 139.4 billion rupees in 2007, the appropriation bill showed.

The defence spending amounts to nearly a fifth of total government expenditure estimated at 925 billion rupees (8.22 billion rupees) next year, the figures tabled in parliament showed.

The government is due to unveil new revenue proposals on November 7.

Thousands have died and many more have been displaced since the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launched a campaign for an independent state in 1972.