BERLIN Nov 13 Germany's army is wasting
millions of euros of taxpayers' money producing its own
sunscreen, cough drops and lip balm rather than buying them off
the shelf, auditors said on Tuesday.
Compounding the problem, about 90 percent of some the
military's own personal care products end up being thrown away,
said the report by the German Federal Court of Auditors.
"There's a lot of scope to eliminate waste," Court of
Auditors president Dieter Engels told reporters in Berlin.
The annual report said the army had spent 20 million euros
($25.42 million) on building a facility to produce its own
products, which also included insect repellent and nasal sprays.
The auditors issued a list of broader recommendations to
tighten up the country's tax administration system and other
areas which Engels estimated could save Germany around 10
billion euros a year.
The report will embarrass many in Germany where officials
have been especially vocal in criticising Greece and other
crisis-hit euro zone countries for failing to collect taxes
The auditors questioned the wisdom of a reduction in the
number of tax office auditing staff, which led to a reduction in
the number of audits and a corresponding drop in income tax
revenues from 911 million euros in 2005 to 787 million euros in
"It's a question of cost effectiveness," said Engels. "That
doesn't always mean the cheapest way is the best way but rather
it's important to keep the cost-benefit ratio in mind."
The federal government could reduce its own deficit and the
national debt at a faster pace by eliminating some of the waste,
the report said.
"Net new borrowing could be reduced even further this year,"
said Engels, referring to the government's recent announcement
that net new borrowing would be 17.1 billion euros in 2013.
The government expects to have a balanced budget in 2014.
The auditors cited one federal agency that had 4,350
computers but only 1,800 workers.
($1 = 0.7867 euros)
(Additional reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing By Erik
Kirschbaum; Editing by Andrew Heavens)