Defense Ministry struggles to pay soldiers

The Colombian Defense Ministry is having trouble financing soldier subsidies and announced it will form a committee to evaluate reallocating funds in order to address the problem.

Member of the Colombian armed forces are entitled to subsidies such as food vouchers and healthcare. Subsidies are calculated at four percent of a soldier’s monthly salary and added to this base salary.

The army guaranteed that it would begin paying the subsidies, which have not been paid for several months, on October 1. The 22 thousand members of the armed forces eligible for the subsidies still have not received them.

Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said the subsidies scheme is creating serious financial problems for the government, who is trying to find the resources to meet this part of the 2010 budget, El Espectador reported Thursday.

The Ministry will evaluate a proposal to reduce the salaries of members of the navy and reallocate the funds to the subsidies scheme. The salary reduction would only affect future and not current navy officers, according to El Espectador.

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