TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia expands its defense budget by 7% next year. The growth is explained with the country’s need for security.

44 600 000 Georgian lari more will become available for military spending, bringing the total to 704 631 200 lari for defense, finance minister Dimitry Gvindadze told lawmakers Thursday at a session to review the 2011 budget and plan ahead.

The revised 2011 budget will grow by 219 million lari compared to its original form, to a total of 7 570 million lari.

Members of the opposition in parliament expressed interest in the increased defense budget.

Gvindadze says the growth is due to certain tendencies the last few years. The Ministry of Defense was growing until 2008 when it had 23% of the total state spending at its disposal. This amounts to 8.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

According to the Minister, since 2009 the Ministry of Defense have seen a fall in financing to 9.3% of the total expenses in the current year.

“This level is necessary for the Ministry of Defense’s responsibilities in providing the country’s security,” the minister stated.