26 Sep 2005

Fiji military cuts operations because of budget overruns

8:12 pm on 26 September 2005

Fiji's military has reduced its operations for the rest of the year to stay within its allocated budget.

But the military says national security will not be compromised.

Operations will be scaled back in search and rescue, maritime patrols, training and exercise and the deployment of engineers to rural areas.

The military spokesman, Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa, says anyone wanting to use the services which are being cut back will have to pay for them.

He says the military is having to take these measures because of several unbudgeted requests as well as salary adjustments implemented this year for which the state has made no allocation.

But high priority foreign policy areas like deployment in the Sinai and Iraq, officer cadet training with the New Zealand defence forces and the retrial of soldiers charged with mutiny will not suffer.