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Vauleyo-Buryatian gov't presents budget and reforms

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[u][b]BCNA News: Government launches military overhaul[/b][/u]

[i]“Today the Vauleyo-Buryatian government announced what could be the most drastic overhaul of the nation’s military forces in several years. The announcement was made by Defense Minister Andrei Ourumov during the presentation of the new fiscal budget in the People’s Khural.

The Defense Minister revealed that the military would be undergoing an overhaul in strategic doctrines, military equipment, organizational and command structures. While stating that some of the reforms will not be made public, the Defense Minister spoke of a few of the more prominent changes to the armed forces. Under the [b]‘Strategic Armed Forces National Security Review Act (SAFNSRA)’[/b] the government will create new military organizational structures including four new military units.

The government intends to grant additional powers to the elite [b]Organization of the Zodiac (OZ)[/b] unit (also known as ‘The Specials’) and create Air and Naval components of OZ. These components, to be named the ‘Aries’ and ‘Pisces’ units respectively, will complement the OZ ground troops or ‘Leo’ units. Under the initiative, the government would also separate the Organization of the Zodiac from the military hierarchy and place it under Imperial Jurisdiction. This, the Defense Minister suggests, would permit the elite troops to operate strategically and logistically independently of the Vauleyo-Buryatian military and be commanded by the Imperial Palace.

The new legislation also calls for the creation of a special ‘Libra’ unit under the umbrella of the Organization of the Zodiac. The purposes of this unit or its strategic objectives are classified at the highest levels of government. According to our sources, not even President Andropov is able to determine what exactly the ‘Libra’ unit will be used for except that it will become ‘a key part of Vauleyo-Buryatian national security’. The fourth new military unit to be created under this government plan is a yet-unnamed intelligence agency that would take over the duties of both the Special Internal Security Branch (SISB) and the Special Weapon of Republic Defense (SWoRD) agency. The agency, like the three other units will be placed under the control of the Imperial Palace. It is widely believed that this new unit will be tasked with managing both internal and external security.

The Defense Minister also stated that the government would increase the number of available spaces in the military for new recruits. According to the Minister, the government has set aside an additional B$ 91 million to pay for the training and recruiting of approximately 7,000-10,000 additional people into the Vauleyo-Buryatian military. Despite confirming this amount, the Defense Minister refused to give an exact figure for the entire overhaul but suggested that the government has set a spending ceiling of B$ 4 billion and would be ‘highly unlikely’ to hit that ceiling.

In his presentation to the Khural, the Defense Minister also proposed that Vauleyo-Buryatia needed to hold a significant stockpile of oil and natural gas in the event of damage to oil platforms, refineries and other structures during a potential conflict or civil unrest. The answer, according to the Minister, is the creation of a [b]National Oil Reserve (NOR)[/b], a project that will begin later this year and should take several years to reach completion.

In closing his presentation to the Khural, the Defense Minister stated that despite the new projects being undertaken, there would not be a significant rise in military expenditure in the budget. As the first day of the budget debate draws to a close, the public and defense analysts alike are examining the Defense Minister’s presentation carefully for any clues to upcoming changes in defense and foreign policy. The debate is set to continue tomorrow with a presentation by the Foreign Minister and the first presentation by the Finance Minister."[/i]-Reporter

[b]***Classified Memo***[/b]

Overhaul Summary:
-Creation of Aries (Air) and Pisces (Navy) units of OZ forces
-Allocating funds to increase recruitment to both OZ and to the regular forces
-Creation of Libra (Insurgency and Guerrilla Combat unit) units of OZ forces
-Replacing all outdated military equipment and servicing existing equipment
-Upgrading of underground bunkers in Sygh-Varthys (both civilian and military) disguised as maintenance work on the metros
-Merging SISB and SWoRD into single agency with immunity from prosecution
-Begin preparations for [b]Operation Yortsed Aksala[/b]

[b]***End of Memo***[/b][/quote]

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[b][u]BCNA: Finance Minister announces less than expected growth in budget presentation[/b][/u]

[i]“In the official presentation of the next budget to the Great People’s Khural, Finance Minister Dr. Batukhan Yu revealed less than impressive economic results for the last fiscal year. To the dismay of Social Democratic Party (SDP) Members of the Khural (MPs), the Finance Minister revealed that Vauleyo-Buryatia had attained a dismal 1.1% GDP growth in the last quarter. This figure is surprising as the government’s initial projected growth target for the quarter was 3.8%. The government reduced its initial projected figure twice during the last quarter, first to 2.4% then to 1.8%. According to the Finance Minister, the sudden collapse of economic growth was due in part to the unstable situation in the East Ingushetia Autonomous Region, which severely impacted the oil production in the east of the country. The reduction in oil and natural gas production hit the manufacturing sectors in the central regions of the country the hardest with several companies reporting decreased production. Infrastructure damage in the East Ingushetian region, coupled with the unforeseen expense of the military operation added to the negative economic forecast. Vauleyo-Buryatia’s current GDP stands at B$1.915 trillion, up from approximately B$1.901 trillion.

The Finance Minister also stated that the National Reserve Fund of Vauleyo-Buryatia now stands at B$100 billion, of which B$18 billion has been set aside for reconstruction in East Ingushetia and a further B$30 billion is to be used to stimulate further economic growth. The government has set a cautious 2.1% GDP growth projection for the first quarter of the next fiscal year.

After fending off several scathing questions by Opposition MPs, the Finance Minister presented the official budget for the next fiscal year. In the new budget, the funding to Healthcare will be slashed by almost B$59 billion from B$250 billion down to B$191 billion as the government postpones the implementation of a Universal Healthcare System (UHS). The Finance Ministry attributes the decline in funding to the successful completion of stage 1 of the Nationwide Hospital Standardization Program and to the temporary suspension of stages 2 and 3 of that program. On the closely watched military budget, the government will increase the military budget allocation by B$57 billion to a record high B$325 billion, or 17% of GDP. The government suggested that this colossal figure, which outweighs almost every other budgetary allocation, is due to the ‘urgent need to upgrade key areas of the Vauleyo-Buryatian military’, a position that is in direct opposition to the government’s coalition partner the United Nationalist Front (UNF). The Education allocation will receive a B$44 billion boost, to B$402 billion as the government completes the nationalization of all schools in Vauleyo-Buryatia and brings all schools up to the national standard.

The largest percentage decrease in the new budget is the allocation to Regional Administration which will fall from B$17 billion (~4%) to B$1.5 billion (~0.08%). The local governments of the Baikal Autonomous Region, Sakha Autonomous Region and the East Ingushetia Autonomous Region will be hit hardest by the sudden reduction in funds. The budgetary allocation for National Security will fall by B$12 billion from B$232 billion to B$210 billion (11%). The government has also increased the allocations for Infrastructure Development and Social Programs.

The Finance Minister ended his presentation by reaffirming the government’s commitment to promote sound and consistent economic growth while ensuring that the ordinary citizen may reap the benefits of additional prosperity for his hard work. The Finance Minister also chided the members of the Vauleyo-Buryatian Democratic Party (VDP) who suggested that the government’s economic program would ‘fail catastrophically in the coming months’ and would result in ‘the first budget deficit in 35 years’. The Finance Minister vowed that he would ‘never present a budget that reflected a deficit’, and would resign immediately if his handling of the economy resulted in such a budget being inevitable.

At this stage of the proceedings, all of the MPs in the Khural will examine the figures in greater detail and question the Finance Minister. Immediately following this period, the Khural will vote to accept or reject the budget. Due to the large Social Democratic Party (SDP) majority in the Khural, it is highly unlikely that the first draft of the budget will fail to be approved.

Tomorrow, the Foreign Minister will make his long awaited, albeit delayed presentation to the Great People’s Khural. As always BCNA will be there to bring you the latest news, live from the Great People’s Khural”[/i]-Reporter

-Summary of New Budget

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