Macedonia to increase 2019 defense budget by 1.19 pct of GDP

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-24 01:39:43|Editor: yan
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SKOPJE, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Macedonian government will increase 2019 defense budget to 8.3 billion Macedonian Denar (about 153 million U.S. dollars), or 1.19 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Macedonian Minister of Defense Radmila Sekerinska said on Friday.

According to Sekerinska, the budget will have priorities such as staff enhancement, improvement of working conditions and equipment for the Macedonian Army (ARM) in line with NATO standards.

The defense minster underlined that the new budget will provide an increase by 5 percent for the salaries of the ARM and defense ministry employees.

"There is no bigger guarantee of Macedonia's security and economic prosperity than the NATO accession, which is the Government's focus. This also guarantees a well-equipped and strong army," said Sekerinska.

Moreover, the minister emphasized that the 2019 budget will support the reforms arising from the Strategic Defense Review (a key document that defines the development directions for the defense sector), including the army's modernization and meeting NATO standards in all fields of defense.

"The 2018 defense budget in Macedonia increased by 15 percent and the increase for 2019 compared to the re-balanced budget for 2018 is above 33 percent," underlined Sekerinska.

The defense budget for 2018 in Macedonia is estimated at a total of 123.3 million U.S. dollars.