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Soldiers watch their new Z-9 helicopters during a ceremony marking the handover of the aircraft from China in 2013.
Soldiers watch their new Z-9 helicopters during a ceremony marking the handover of the aircraft from China in 2013. AFP

Military budget up 8 years in row

For the eighth consecutive year, Cambodia’s defence spending is set to grow in 2016 after ruling party lawmakers yesterday approved the year’s budget.

The Ministry of National Defence will get some $382 million, a 17.3 per cent rise on this year’s defense expenditure.

According to the Australian Defence Force’s Defence Economic Trends 2015 report, the Kingdom’s military budget increased yearly from just $100 million in 2008 to about $277 million in 2014.

Jon Grevatt, Asia-Pacific industry reporter for defence analyst IHS Jane’s, said much of the allocated budget would go to personnel costs for the armed forces, often criticised for a lack of transparency in how it spends its cash.

“This would include pensions, if indeed pensions are included in the defence budget, military salaries and operations,” Grevatt said. “I can’t see how in a $382 million budget there could be any money for anything other than the most basic procurement requirements i.e. ammunition and perhaps some firearms.”

“But that doesn’t matter, and the reason why is the Cambodian military is able to secure loans from China to be able to support military procurement.”

Grevatt also noted RCAF’s increased focus on maintaining old equipment, which he said was part of efforts to ensure military capability at its borders.

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