Sri Lanka to reduce its military by a third in size in an attempt to balance finances

Sri Lanka is a nation of 22 million people, and it has been experiencing fuel and food shortages, along with out-of-control inflation.

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  • Sri Lanka to reduce its military by a third in size in an attempt to balance finances

Sri Lanka has decided to reduce its military by a third in order to allow the country to cut costs.

The Ministry of Defence made this announcement as the country faces its worst economic crisis in years. The nation, which is ‘bankrupt’, will cut the number of army personnel by a third by next year, reducing the digit to 135,000. However, the goal is to reduce this number even further to 100,000 by 2030. The Sri Lankan government is working hard to ensure that they balance the finances.

Sri Lanka to cut down military personnel

Sri Lankan politician Premitha Bandara Thennakoon said that military spending is a state-borne expense and indirectly opens avenues for economic growth as it assures national and human security.

“Military spending is basically state-borne expenditure which indirectly stimulates and opens avenues for economic growth by way of assuring national and human security,” she remarked. She further added that the aim of this initiative is to create a ‘technically and tactically sound and well-balanced defense’ by 2030.

Sri Lanka is a nation of 22 million people, and it has been experiencing fuel and food shortages, along with out-of-control inflation. The government has had to cut back on expenditures after it slid into an economic crisis when the foreign exchange reserves dried up. President Ranil Wickremesinghe has increased and imposed budget cuts to get the approval for an expected IMF bailout, following the government’s debt default.

When it comes to the army, Sri Lanka’s forces peaked between the years 2017 and 2019, as it had 317,000 personnel at the time. This digit was even higher during the 25-year-long conflicts with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that ended in 2009. The share of the defense sector in the country’s total expenditure further peaked in 2021, making up 2.31% of GDP, but as of last year, it fell to 2.03%. In 2022, the defense made up for 10% of public spending and according to analysts, the salary of security force personnel also makes up half of the government’s salary bill.

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