Military: salaries and votes

Military: salaries and votes
September 5, 2023 – 13:54

Cabildo Abierto demands an increase for the Armed Forces, an issue that has more political than budgetary relevance.

Photo: Parliament

The project of Accountability follow their discussion on Parliamentnow in the Chamber of Senators. The tax situation of the Uruguay It is delicate, despite the fact that its sovereign debt has investment grade and there are those who suggest that it could even improve its rating in the near future.

The country has been characterized by a tax conduct good, although not without its difficulties and challenges. The recent implementation of the fiscal rule it helps more to maintain that positive trajectory, although it is not a definitive solution. In fact, in recent months the fiscal deficit has risen to 4%. In July the collection of the DGI fell again, but the increase in real wages allowed an improvement in the collection of the BPS, which made up for the above. Within this framework, the Minister of Economy, lily arbelecheonce again raises the need to control spending and expressed that he maintains an expectation that the deficit will drop to 3.2% at the end of the year, due to lower health spending and a certain reduction in infrastructure spending, which has been rising .

In this context, a discussion is taking place about a claim of Town meeting to increase the salaries of Armed forces, excluding the highest echelons, in a matter that has more political than budgetary relevance. Those led by Guido Manini Rios They ask for about $400 million to increase the salary of soldiers up to the rank of lieutenant colonel by about $1,000 a month. They also ask for other added items for nocturnal work (they have already occurred in the previous Surrender), and reinforcements in military health. The total annual defense budget is today almost $30 billion a year, of which 78% are salaries. The wages in the Ministry of Defence they are 9% of the total salary expense (Central Administration + 220 organizations).

It will be difficult to meet the claim, among other things because the Parliament cannot expand spending but only establish reassignments. This means that if the salary of the military is increased, it is necessary to cut elsewhere. There is the ability to get hold of unexecuted games, but this is also limited. From Town meeting they speculate that there could also be a complementary message, with increased spending, but this also seems unlikely.

From the Ministry of Defense it is highlighted that the budget for military salaries has had important reinforcements during this administration, but Town meeting He says that there were also for other areas of the Administration. What are the numbers? In the attached table we present the variations in real value of the income of the different ranks, comparing the year 2023 with 2019. The ranks of the army, but the situation is parallel to the other forces. It is observed that -indeed- in the lower ranks there is a real advance, in some important cases. Also, in his appearance at Deputiesthe minister javier garcia He highlighted that not only did the real salary of the lower and middle ranks increase, but that for the salary for entry into the Armed Forces, the improvement was greater than in the Central Administration (second table).

Military Salaries.jpeg

Salaries in the State.jpeg

Beyond the differences between ranks and within the administration, we must not lose sight of the fact that salaries today are recovering in almost all areas, due to the drop in the inflation. Even so, the increases granted (and those that may come) improve the pocketbook of the military (especially lower ranks). And this is the key issue from a political point of view: the military has been a contested constituency. He broad front (particularly by the action of the MPP) has increased its incidence there, despite the historical suspicion of the left. The arrival of Town meeting to the political map interrupted (and surely reversed) that trend. But the dispute continues and what happened in the last ballot is fresh in the memory of the political actors.

The risk is that the short-term political discussion leaves the most important thing in the background: having modern Armed Forces, with high operational and deterrence capacity; and -why not- that they participate in technological and productive development, as happens in any country that has a minimum of strategic vision. In this administration, steps were taken to renew equipment and greater investments, although there is still a long way to go. In turn, the military withdrawal regime was brought together -in the medium term- with the rest, with extenuating factors but in a relevant decision, which makes the situation more just. The aspirations are wide, the resources limited.

Source: Ambito

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