Sri Lanka seeks extra 20pct for '09 defence budget

Thu Oct 8, 2009 8:32am EDT

COLOMBO Oct 8 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's government on Thursday sought an additional 39.6 billion rupees ($345 million) to fund its military, a 20 percent increase from the original defence budget despite the end of a 25-year war against Tamil Tigers in May.

The documents presented to parliament and seen by Reuters showed that the government has sought extra money for defence expenditure including salaries, fuel, compensation and to procure machinery for the security forces.

The government allocated 200 billion rupees ($1.74 billion) for defence in its 2009 budget, when the military was fighting the last phase of one of the Asia's longest modern wars.

Tamil Tiger rebels, who fought for a separate nation in the island nation's north and east, were militarily defeated and the government announced the end of the war on May 18.

Analysts said the government's increased defence spending would put pressure on its budget deficit, which the government had agreed to bring down to 7 percent by end this year for a $2.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Writing by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Bryson Hull)





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