Sri Lanka to raise defence spending by 25%

President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka announced it would raise defence spending by over 25 percent in 2013, more than three years after security forces ended a decades-long separatist war with Tamil rebels.

Figures presented in parliament showed the government allocating 289.5 billion rupees ($2.2 billion) for the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, compared to estimated spending of 231 billion rupees this year.

There was no immediate explanation for the sharp 25.32 percent increase in spending, but the government has maintained that it needs to keep the defence budget high to repay installments on arms purchased during the fighting.

The government’s overall spending rises to 2.52 trillion rupees in 2013, up 13.5 percent compared to estimated total spending of 2.22 trillion rupees this year.

It expects the economy to grow by around 6.5 percent this year after recording growth of over eight percent in 2011.

President Mahinda Rajapakse, who holds both the finance and defence portfolios, is due to unveil the full 2013 budget on November 8, when he is expected to announce how he will raise money to meet state expenses, AFP reports.

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