The state budget allocation for Egypt’s military is set to rise by LE3.4 billion (approx. $0.5 billion) in the 2013/14 fiscal year to reach some LE31 billion (approx. $4.4 billion), an official military source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Ahram Online on Tuesday.
One day earlier, another military source – also preferring anonymity – told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website that the planned military budget allocations were "not enough to buy a single submarine," given the current global price hike on arms and advanced weaponry.
The first military source, however, challenged the accuracy of this assertion. "Maybe this source meant to convey the idea that the budget allocation for the military only represented a small portion of the total budget compared to other countries," he said.
According to Egypt's 2013/14 state budget, unveiled last month by the Shura Council (the upper house of Egypt's parliament, currently endowed with legislative powers), military allocations only represent between 3 and 4 percent of the total.
Total expenses are expected to rise in next year's budget by a whopping 19 percent to LE692 billion (approx. $99.1 billion), up from LE584 billion (approx. $83.6 billion) in the current budget.
Total state revenues, meanwhile, are expected to grow by 26 percent to LE497 billion (approx. $71.1 billion) in the new budget, due mainly to an expected 34 percent increase in tax revenues worth some LE90 billion (approx. $12.8 million).
"The LE31 billion allocated for the military [in the 2013/14 state budget] should be reduced, since it isn't used for buying arms," prominent economist Abdel-Khaleq Farouk told Ahram Online. "Rather, it's for salaries and equipment maintenance."
Farouk went on to point out that the Egyptian military depended largely on annual US military assistance worth $1.2 billion to finance most of its arms purchases.
"Like any country around the world, Egypt's military budget should be monitored and discussed by parliament," he added. "It shouldn't remain a secret."
According to the military source who spoke to Ahram Online, US arms represent roughly 60 percent of Egypt's total military arsenal. He asserted that Egypt's military budget should remain a state secret.
"Egypt’s military will remain a red line," he said. "Details of the military budget should be kept strictly confidential."
The same source went on to confirm that around 60 percent of the military budget allocation was spent on salaries, while the rest was earmarked for spare parts and arms purchases.