The Associated Press March 1, 2011, 6:45AM ET

Myanmar allocates 1/4 of new budget to military

An official publication has revealed that almost one-quarter of Myanmar's new national budget will be allocated to defense.

The Government Gazette reports that 1.8 trillion kyat (about $2 billion at free market rates of exchange), or 23.6 percent of the budget this year will go to defense. The health sector, meanwhile, will get 99.5 billion kyat ($110 million), or 1.3 percent.

The budget totals 7.6 trillion kyat ($8.45 billion).

The gazette says the budget was enacted on Jan. 27, just a few days before the country's parliament met for the first time in more than two decades. The timing apparently means the budget will not need parliamentary approval before coming into effect on April 1.

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