Archive: Ethiopian defence spending irrational

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 Ethiopia’s defence spending was irrational, a first-of-its-kind study on defence budgets in Africa has found.

FEATURE-AU-DEFENCE-ETHIOPIA by Leon Engelbrecht
   ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia May 1 2005 Sapa
   ETHIOPIA’S DEFENCE SPENDING IRRATIONAL: STUDY
   Ethiopia’s defence spending was irrational, a first-of-its-kind study on defence budgets in Africa has found.
   The conclusions of the study were discussed at a conference at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the weekend.
   “The major finding is that the Ethiopian military budgetary process suffers from a number of deficiencies that hamper the efficient allocation and use of resources,” the study found.
   The research found a lack of continuity in their budgeting process, an absence of a well-articulated defence policy and of a strategic plan, the inefficient implementation of the budget and an emphasis on input, rather than outcomes, meaning more attention were paid to spending set amounts rather than rationally deciding what was required and how much it cost.
   The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the African Security Dialogue and Research institute of Ghana and Ethiopia’s InterAfrica Group (IAG) also found an over-centralization of authority and relatively strong inter-service rivalry on the level of military spending.
   “The budget allocated to defence is determined through the prior setting of ceilings, which does not con-tribute to budget discipline or to the efficient management of the budget. The process does not allow decision makers to use the budget as a tool for developing an effective defence system that accords with national defence interests,” the study found.
   “There have been frequent changes in organizational structure accompanied by a high staff turnover, with a consequent short-age of well-trained personnel in budget administration.”
   Delays in policy formulation and in communicating policy decisions to implementing units have also caused delays in budget preparation and submission.
   This, the study found, shortened the time available for proper analysis of the budget.
   Recent changes in the sub-programme classification of the military budget have resulted in the further centralization of authority over some activities.
   This centralization has contributed to a reduction in the control that the services have over their resources, depriving them of the opportunity to manage themselves more efficiently and effectively.
   “This has come as a result of excessive preoccupation with cost reduction, to the exclusion of considerations of efficiency.”
   The role of parliament in the budgetary process is minimal even though the Ethiopian constitution gives the legislature extensive powers.
   The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Prime Minister’s Office have the decisive roles in the budgetary process.
   “Owing to the nature of the military sector (which encourages excessive claims of confidentiality) and because of limited access, it has not been possible to determine the informal processes and politics of the military budgetary process. Emphasis in the chapter is placed more on the formal mechanisms and processes of the military budget and their critique.”
   “There is a need to democratize the military budgetary process in Ethiopia. The budgeting methods and processes should be open to increased involvement of civil society through public scrutiny and discourse. This would enhance those processes and ensure greater efficiency, improved resource allocation and high levels of accountability in the nation’s military sector,” the study found.
   A Civil Service Reform Budget Design Team was established to recommend reforms in the federal government’s budget processes and structure, and the Ministry of National Defence has began to institute changes based on the Team’s recommendations.
   “However, some of the more sophisticated reforms exceed the current capabilities and expertise of the ministry,” the study concluded.
   Sapa
   /le/np