Army gets 4.2% of state budget, says SCAF member

Major General Mahmoud Nasr, assistant defense minister for finance and member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, said that only 4.2 percent of the state budget is allocated for the army, which is less than half the budget of the Education Ministry, despite the magnitude of the armed forces’ expenses.

“This is why the army is investing in other businesses, such as foodstuff and garments, to generate income,” he said in a press briefing Tuesday. “And all our expenditures are supervised by the Central Auditing Agency.”

“We stick to our projects and will not leave them for the government to destroy,” he said, adding that the surplus of the military production is pumped into the market at subsidized prices so as to combat price increases.

In December, reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei demanded that the budget of Egypt's armed forces should be monitored by the people through a representative parliament.

ElBaradei pointed out, in interview on the Egyptian CBC television channel, that in most countries in the world, the military publicly discloses its budget and a representative legislature oversees its economic activities. He noted that transparency exceptions could be made if national security were concerned.

ElBaradei was responding to SCAF member Major General Mokhtar al-Mulla who said in the same month that the budget of the armed forces will remain autonomous from parliamentary oversight.

Nasr stressed on Tuesday the importance of the US$3.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to offset the budget deficit, and questioned the intentions of the Arab countries to help Egypt, especially the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

He also said there is LE35.5 billion in 7,000 private funds belonging to the various ministries that cannot be touched without accounting for them in the state budget.

In response to a question about the responsibility of the army for the deteriorating economic situation, Nasr said this is the responsibility of many state bodies. “We made huge efforts in the management of the country,” he said.

He revealed that the military gave LE12.2 billion from its own budget, of which LE1 billion went to the Central Bank, LE350 million to the Radio and Television Union, and LE150 million to the Ministry of Electricity.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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