Speedier defence spending hikes a remedy for GDP decline - official

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Raising defence spending at a faster pace could compensate for the GDP drop expected in result of the COVID-19 epidemic, National Security Bureau (BBN) head Pawel Soloch said on Tuesday at a conference hosted by the Defence 24 web portal.

Soloch said the modernisation of Poland's defence segment called for steady and adequate financing and well-planned spending. In this context, he stated that President Andrzej Duda and the National Security Bureau have repeatedly argued for the accelerated raising of defense spending to the NATO-prescribed 2.5 percent GDP level, so that it is achieved in 2024 instead of the initial 2030 deadline.

Soloch said Duda's postulate had found acceptance in the government, and noted that appropriate clauses were included in Poland's new National Security Strategy. He added that raising the defence budget at a faster pace could effectively compensate the GDP drop expected as a result of the epidemic.

Soloch observed that the epidemic crisis forced Poland to rely on its own production potential and said that the production of Poland's planned Narew short-range aerial defence system will be commissioned to domestic manufacturers. He added that the project could prove a "game changer" in the modernisation of Poland's defence production.

Soloch also mentioned the president's appeals for the modernisation of the Polish Navy, and said that the new National Security Strategy was the first to include a maritime security programme. Soloch said that naval modernisation will also be entrusted to domestic industry.

Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak spoke about the planned establishment of an Armaments Agency to oversee defence purchases and said a related bill would be submitted for consultation by the government.

According to the Defence Ministry, the agency could come into operation in 2022.