Ukraine plans big rise in defence spending in 2024 draft budget

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KYIV – The government approved a draft 2024 budget on Friday that puts the deficit at 1.548 trillion hryvnias ($41.92 billion) and increases defence spending to 1.7 trillion hryvnias, over 21% of GDP.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the increase in defence spending was needed to fund Ukraine’s war effort following Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

“This amount (defence spending) is 113 billion hryvnias more than this year. There will be even more weapons and equipment. More drones, ammunition, missiles,’ he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

The finance ministry said in a statement that spending on defence was expected to be more than 21% of gross domestic product. The spending includes an allocation of 48.1 billion hryvnias for buying drones, which have been widely used by both sides in the almost 19-month-old war.

The forecast for budget financing provides for reducing the deficit to 20.4% of GDP from 27% in 2023, the ministry said.

Debt repayment is planned to be 606.5 billion hryvnias, including 421.6 billion hryvnias to be spent on internal debt repayments and 184.9 billion hryvnias for external debt repayments.

Budget revenues are expected to be 1.56 trillion hryvnias. About 468.8 billion hryvnias is budgeted for social spending, with 30.8 billion hryvnias allocated for business support. REUTERS

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