Bangladesh Defence Budget is $2.12 billion
The allocation will be Tk16,400 core for the coming fiscal and Tk14,565.51 crore was allocated in the revised budget of the outgoing FY2013-14.
Officials said the additional Tk1,849 crore would be needed for forming a new brigade, setting up new cantonments and sending troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
Ministry officials said accommodation and housing crisis in the three defence forces has reached an acute level and the additional allocation would be largely used to address that problem.
Besides, some extra cash would be needed for purchasing more aircrafts, arms and ammunitions from Russia with the residual $200m of the $1bn defence purchase deal, they said.
Officials also said a bulk of the Tk16,400 crore allocation would go into the construction of a new cantonment in Sylhet. Besides, big amounts would be needed for sending army personnel, arms and motor vehicles to Mali under the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission (MINUSMA).
The UN, however, will pay the money spent back to the Bangladesh government. In April, a 112-member team of the Bangladesh Army went to Mali to join the MINUSMA for the first time.
A total of six contingents comprising 1,446 members, including a battalion and naval unit, will be deployed in the African country in phases.
Till date, the Bangladesh armed forces have made the biggest contribution to the UN peace missions. In FY2012-13, they earned $72m from these missions.
Traditionally, the prime minister holds the Defence Ministry in Bangladesh.
Citing resource constraint as a reason, the Finance Division has not allocated any fund in the outgoing fiscal for manufacturing and exporting lighter arms. However, according to sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), in the coming fiscal, Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory is going to get Tk10 crore for the purpose.
Former finance adviser of a caretaker government AB Mirza Azizul Islam said: “Over 10 years, the defence budget has grown from less than Tk4,000 crore in 2003-04 to over Tk14,600 crore in 2013-14.
“The important question today is not how much should be spent for defence. Rather questions should be asked about the decision-making process. Transparency in procurement and resource distributions is vital. At a time when we have serious resource constraints, 6.5% of budget going to defence will surely raise some eyebrows,” he said.
The ratio of defence expenditure to total GDP will stand at 1.2% in the coming fiscal. The government has allocated 2.8% of the GDP outlay for agriculture and rural development, 2.3% for education and 1.8% for transport and communication.
In FY2006-07, the Defence Ministry got Tk4,904 crore from the budget. In FY2008-09, the amount was Tk6,306 crore.