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20 October, 2017
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence Intends to Classify Even More of the Defence Budget
In 2018, the secret part of Ukraine’s defence budget will be augmented. This was announced by First Deputy Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Ivan Rusnak, during the parliamentary hearings on the implementation of the Annual National Programme Ukraine-NATO and Strategic Defence Bulletin.
The meeting took place on October 18, 2017 and was also attended by experts from the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO). In 2016, the open part of the budget amounted to 10,15 billion UAH and was mainly dedicated to uniforms, medical supplies, foodstuffs, equipment etc. The secret part was set at the level of 8,38 billion UAH. This money was dedicated to purchasing, maintenance, and utilization of military items and equipment, military construction, utilization of ammunition etc. In 2016, 45% of all procurements will be secret (14,5% of the total MoD 58,2 billion UAH budget. According to Rusnak, the 2018 defence budget is set at 83,3 billion UAH. Of this, 19,6% of defence procurements will be classified. The augmentation of secret procurements violates the goals set for the MOD and Ministry for Economic Development and Trade by the Strategic Defence Bulletin. Specifically, Target 2.5.1. of the Bulletin provides for the development of a legal framework that will augment open procurements by the MOD to include conventional weapons and revision of the status of the State Defence Order, and, the list of ammunition and military equipment containing state secret by the end of 2017. In response to a question posed by NAKOs representative, Deputy Minister Rusnak failed to comment on the legislative amendments that had been prepared. Rather, he stated it would be unreasonable to procure ammunition and military equipment though open procedures. In contrast to Ukraine’s move, secret procurements by the U.S. State Department in 2016 amounted to 16% of total value of all procurements, or 10% of the Department’s total budget. In Germany, the secret budget does not exceed 1% of its total amount, in Bulgaria it is not more than 2%. NAKO Secretary General Olena Tregub contends that more open defence budget and procurements will help eliminate corruption and strengthen parliamentary control over the defence sector. She reiterated, that in his July 2017 speech before the Ukrainian Parliament, NATOs Secretary General called upon the Ukrainian government to intensify efforts to fight corruption. He identified corruption as the biggest obstacle for Ukraine’s path to NATO. “We will not be able to successfully integrate into the NATO community until we learn to use the Ukrainian taxpayers’ money in a more effective and transparent manner. NATO simply cannot accept the current status quo.” – stated Ms. Tregub. NAKO will advocate for the decrease of the level of secrecy in the defence procurements.