Sri Lanka’s military strength at 247,000 is too expensive to maintain and reserve force should be considered, ruling party legislator Mahindanda Aluthgamage has said.
“Our tri-forces amount to 247,000,” Aluthgamage, a former agriculture minister of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Party who is now without a portfolio told parliament.
“In other countries of the world, when the war is over they voluntarily leave. Or they leave and are kept in reserve.
“We spend 100 billion rupees for food alone.”
According to Globalfirepower.com, an online defence information portal, Australia which had a population similar to Sri Lanka had 59,000 regular servicemen and 20,000 in reserve, the Netherlands which had a population of 17 million had a 35,000 regular servicemen and 5,000 in reserve.
Canada which had a population of 37 million maintained 70,000 regular servicemen and had 19,000 in reserve.
Sri Lanka expanded its military during its civil war which ended in 2009.
Sri Lanka from 2015 went on a peculiar strategy called revenue based fiscal consolidation increasing taxes and not engaging in regular fiscal consolidation which involves both tax increases and cost – cutting (spending based consolidation).
Sri Lanka’s state workers now take home a large share of taxes.
In early 2022 Sri Lanka increased the retirement age from 60 to 65. An interim budget announced that it would be reversed.
Sri Lanka has about 1.5 million state workers, which is growing partly due to giving lifetime jobs to graduates of state universities following a campaign launched by the opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna which was adopted by the Rata Perata regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa and continued.