On Wednesday evening, the Sejm considered a draft amendment to the Homeland Defense Act, which provides for expanding funding opportunities for the modernization of the military. Opposition MPs expressed their support, but tabled amendments on spending control, among other things. The defense committee then looks back on the project.
The first reading of the draft took place Wednesday morning during a meeting of the parliamentary national defense committee. In the evening, a second reading took place in the plenary, amendments were tabled, which the defense committee will consider during the meeting on Thursday.
The draft amendment to the Homeland Defense Act, in effect since April, tabled by the Law and Justice MPs, provides for the addition of new funding sources for the Armed Forces Support Fund – apart from BGK bonds, credits and loans, including foreign ones. The provisions of the draft also apply to advances granted by the Ministry of Defense in connection with defense contracts and to funds from sources other than EU funds.
The Sejm is working on a draft amendment to the Homeland Defense Act
The Deputy Head of the Ministry of National Defense Wojciech Skurkiewicz argued during the first reading of the draft at a meeting of the Defense Commission that the expansion of the Fund’s “catalogue of sources of supply” and other provisions would “make the arrangement of these funds under various forms of financing”, not only NATO and the EU, but also with regard to aid to Ukraine. – With this amendment, we do not change the structure of the Fund, the total amount does not change, we only change the sources of income – added the Deputy Minister.
The draft assumes that the principles of granting advances (for example, the amount of the advance, the need to repay at least part of the first advance when granting the next) do not apply to international agreements, for example concluded with the US government or in conjunction with the NATO Support and Porcurement Agency, NSPA).
During the second reading of the bill in the Sejm, MP Paweł Hreniak, representative of PiS, noted that the proposed amendment aims, among other things, to adapt to US regulations under the FMS program (Foreign Military Sales). abroad through the US government). He noted that the Polish Armed Forces have ordered a large amount of equipment from the US, including Abrams tanks, F-35 fighters, Patriot missile sets and HIMARS launchers.
Doubts of the opposition
MP Cezary Tomczyk, representative of the KO, asked “what has happened that it is necessary to change the law that came into effect a few weeks ago”. He asks about the debt that would arise from the loans envisaged by the amendment. As he announced, KO will support the amendment but will table amendments that “secure money” and increase the Seym’s control over defense spending and debt. He also ruled that the solutions of the amendment would make it possible to borrow more expensively than is currently the case.
He was followed by the MP from the left, Robert Obaz. He stressed that the development of the armed forces should be one of the priorities of the state and that there is no doubt that the expenditure on the army should be increased, “but the expenditure on the army should not be left outside the control of the Seym. . .”
– The option to finance the Fund with bonds issued by BGK now offers great opportunities for the government. Now, in the novel, these possibilities are expanded further – he said. He also pointed out that so far no plan has been presented to modernize the armed forces and it is unknown where the additional money will be spent.
Draft amendment to the law on the defense of the homeland submitted to the commission
On the other hand, PSL MP Paweł Bejda emphasized that “security comes with huge costs, but the money spent on defense should be a driving force for the Polish economy, not for the economies of other countries.” He stressed the need to increase the share of the Polish defense industry and Polish science in the modernization of the army.
This comment was answered by Deputy Minister Skukiewcz. He emphasized that the Polish army is making use of the capabilities of the Polish arms industry, but that not in all areas the domestic industry is able to provide the army with the necessary equipment.
Bejda announced an amendment, according to which the first article of the law would contain a provision stating that the head of the Ministry of National Defense, when planning expenditures for the modernization of the armed forces, takes into account the potential of the Polish defense industry and defense research expenditure.
Poland’s Member of Parliament in 2050, Mirosław Suchoń, also announced his support for the project, pointing to the need for greater rationalization of state spending and debt. After the debate and the tabling of amendments, the draft was sent to the Parliamentary National Defense Committee.
Source photo head: PAP / Tomasz Gzell