North Macedonia’s defense budget for 2023 amounts to €274 million, which is an increase of 24,45 percent compared to the current budget i.e., the State will allocate 1,85 percent of its GDP for defense purposes, announced by prime minister Dimitar Kovachevski and defense minister Slavjanka Petrovska last week.
Petrovska stated that last year we have shown that we respect all the obligations and standards accepted as a NATO member state.
“We are proceeding with the practice of increasing the budget. In 2024 we shall implement our obligations, thereby allocating 2% of GDP for our defense. It is my pleasure to inform you that the proposed budget for 2023 allocates 33% of the money for new equipment and modernization”, stated Petrovska.
The resources for equipping and modernizing the Army are increased by 6% compared to the 2022 budget allocation for the same purpose. Budget resources will be used to procure light armored vehicles JLTV and STRYKER, an air defense system, as well as IT equipment, cyber-security equipment and other items. Next year the main focus will be equipping and improving the working conditions of the Light Infantry Battalion Group.
At the same time, the implementation of the operational and logistic needs of the Army will continue, such as the procurement of boots, uniforms, sport and mountaineering equipment, material resources and amunition for training and drills. The reconstruction of buildings and the Army infrastructure will also be carried out with €10 million more than in 2022, informed defense minister Petrovska.
Funds have been allocated for improving the standard of the Army members – higher salaries in compliance with the amendments of the Law on Army Service, the monthly rental renumeration which is a significant addition to the domestic budget of Army members, including the severance pay for professional soldiers after reaching the age of 45, in the amount of 20 000-25 000 euro.
The 2023 Budget includes resources envisaged for the new 200 soldiers that will be recruited until the end of 2022, as well as the new 300 professional soldiers, 60 officers and 120 non-commissioned officers.
The participation in several missions of NATO, United Nations and the European Union in 2023 is also planned in the budget, with a total of 226 Army members, which is 111 more than 2022.