Sri Lanka to keep lid on defence spending in 2010

Nov 09, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is planning to keep defence spending for 2010 at 2009 levels in rupee terms, and divert money spent on military activities to reconstruction, the government had told the International Monetary Fund. In a revised program document given to the IMF following the approval of a 329.4 million US dollar tranche under a 2.6 billion dollar loan program, the government said the military was now doing nearly 75 percent of de-mining and road rebuilding.

“The end of the conflict will allow us to divert resources previously used for military activities toward the significant resource needs of our reconstruction effort,” a revised letter of intent submitted to the IMF said.

“These efforts will need to continue, and we intend to increasingly redeploy military resources to this purpose.

“We also aim to free up budget resources for reconstruction and resettlement by keeping 2010 defense-related spending at current rupee levels.”

For 2009, 179.0 billion rupees was allocated as defence and security expenditure, despite the 2008 bill being 203.i billion rupees. In October a further 39.6 billion was sought as a supplementary financing.

A 30-year war with Tamil Tiger separatists ended in May and