Egi Adyatama, Jakarta – Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto pledged that he would strive to increase the budget for the country's primary defense weapon systems or alutsista. He opined the set budget was tight and far lower than that of other countries.
"Our [alutsista] budget is the lowest compared to our neighbors in Southeast Asia. It is not reached one percent of our GDP (gross domestic product)," said the minister in his ministry building on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta, Tuesday, December 3.
According to Prabowo, the budget for the national armament was at around 0.8 percent of GDP, while other countries set it at 2 to 3 percent of their GDP. He also asserted that a hike in the budget is necessary.
"This is what I am fighting for so that our budget [for alutsista] can be raised to maintain our sovereignty, preserving our areas, our wealth from being stolen by other states," the former commander of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) remarked.
These efforts are actually in line with the campaign promise that he conveyed during the 2019 presidential election. When tapped by President Jokowi as a defense minister, Prabowo was asked to optimize the budget and avert budget leaks.
During a limited meeting last Friday on November 22, Jokowi suggested the defense minister change the ongoing mindset in the procurement of alutsista. The President demanded the minister not to be oriented towards budget absorption, let alone projects.