Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I have a serious problem with our Journalists!

The Government just released 2014 Budget Estimates, and to a fault ALL the media reported that Defense Expenditure estimates have been reduced to Rs250B from Rs289B in the previous year.


Journalists were you asleep, or don’t you check what you write with someone a little more intelligent than you? I guess not. So where were the Budget Estimates for the Ministry of Law and Order? It is a new Ministry, so there weren’t any costs last year. WRONG.  

Why don’t Journalists question something quite illogical. The total expenditure estimates for 2014 have gone up 30% to Rs 1.5Trillion, and why would defense drop by 20%? No one has asked that question.

Quite simply the Rs50B for the Ministry of Law and Order is shown separately this year, as it is a new ministry and under the present practice must be shown as such. In fact defense expenditure has gone up as a result and the people have been misled by this poor journalistic reporting.

I have scoured the papers since to see if there were any corrections to the reports to correct any errors of the earlier reports, but to no avail. Either they are embarrassed at that basic error or are still in complete ignorance on this score.

Considering it is the largest single budget allocation, one would hope they take more care in reporting this and also conduct some research into the details of the expenditure to make some relevant observations.

I note that the opposition had asked for details and the Govt. using national security refused to further elaborate on the expenditure, by breaking it down to types of equipment which they intend importing, as that would make sense.

It would be advisable if there is some sort of checks and balances to see if unreasonably high costs are paid for equipment that could otherwise have been sourced for much less. This will inevitably show that there is considerable kickbacks in the ordering of defense equipment and cannot escape notice of the higher ups in defense unless of course they are directly responsible for the graft.        

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