The Defense Ministry has asked for an addition of Rp460 billion to its 2009 budget allocation of Rp33.6 trillion to support the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI)`s operational preparedness, the ministry`s chief said.
Speaking after attending a Defense Ministry leadership meeting here Tuesday, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said a cut in the defense budget in 2009 would reduce the TNI`s capability in maintaining the country`s sovereignty.
"A budget cut for other ministries would have no impact on the safety, security and sovereignty of the state. But if the budget of the TNI as the guardian of the state`s security and sovereignty is cut it will be very dangerous," Sudarsono said.
Therefore, the minister said, the defense ministry had asked the monetary authorities, in this case the ministry of finance, to provide an additional budget allocation of Rp460 billion, apart from the Rp33.6 trillion allocated for the TNI in the 2009 state budget.
He said 2009 marked the first time in state budget history that the state budget reached Rp1,000 trillion while the budget for defense in was only Rp33.6 trillion. "Moreover, this budget will further be cut by 10 percent in the coming two or three months," the minister added.
Sudarsono, who is Indonesia`s former ambassador to Britain, said he understood the government`s intention to focus on improving the people`s welfare and national economic recovery.
"That`s why we will accept the budget allocation and use it effectively to support the TNI`s operations in carrying out its main tasks while asking for an additional budget," the minister said.
In the meantime, TNI Commander General Djoko Santoso said on the occasion that shortage of funds was not a new problem for TNI.
"TNI is already accustomed to shortages of funds and emergency conditions and is also accustomed to taking steps to overcome the problems," he said.
However, he said, the impact of the shortages, including the needed nominal value, had to be reported so it would be possible for the TNI to ask for additional operational funds. (ANTARA News)