Somalia: Military Spending Pushes Budget By U.S.$130 Million

Somali cabinet has approved a draft fiscal budget of 459.5 million U.S. dollars for the financial year ending 2019/2020 which is 130 million more than the previous fiscal year.

Hassan Ali Khaire, Prime Minister of Somalia, who chaired the cabinet meeting, said the increase is as a result of salary increments made for the Somalia National Army (SNA).

"This is a good beginning, but they deserve us more than that. Following the long SNA reform process, we have now directed our attention and focus to improve the economic quality of our army," Khaire said in a statement issued in Mogadishu on Friday.

He said each soldier received a salary increment of 70 dollars, making his total salary 230 dollars. "This is now the first year. It is a new beginning, but we will keep it up," he added.

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The soldiers are currently collaborating with African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops to intensify fight against al-Shabab militants across the country.

Khaire added that if the current work and tempo was maintained and the country's debt canceled, his government would be able to transform the country's national budget from millions into billions.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected Somalia's economic growth to remain broadly stable at 2.9 percent in 2019 despite the difficult security situation in the Horn of Africa nation.

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