Campaign of the Month: Disarm the Budget in Paraguay


The campaign with more than 10 years of existence started from the need to demand a bigger, better and equitable Social Investment with the aim for the State to better distribute their resources. A correct distribution of the country resources would satisfy people's human rights, they are; free universal public health care, free education, drinkable water, housing for everyone, good working conditions, access to land and a sustainable environment.

It can be said that in the last years the resources allocated to social investment have increased; the budget for 2006 was Gs.11.779577 ( 1 dollar = 5350 Guaranies) which was 28% more than the year 2005, but this increase has not been sufficient. If what was budgeted for social investment was really implemented, al the above rights would have had significantly improved, which was not the case.

Paraguay doesn't need more resources to continue doing more of the same, what is needed is the political will to re-divert the budget not for political interest but for fulfilling the basic rights of the Paraguayan population.

The budget grows annually at a rate of 8%, but the State investment on health care, housing and land access its still under the average of the rest of the countries in the region. The main areas where the State resources goes are: transference expenses with 3,205,356 dollars, followed by the expense on Public Debt Services with 1,990,836 dollars and of Physic Inversion, being 1,935,912 dollars. The proposed budget for 2008 includes an increase of 15 million dollars for the Armed Forces. This clearly shows us which are the political priorities on social investment of the state.

The Resources are not missing,but are being wasted! When the General Budget of Expenses for the Nation are mentioned it is referred in millions of dollars or guaranies, but these numbers represent people. Then when it is proposed to cut or raise the budget they are also proposing to benefit or exclude a group or sector of the population, and the right to a decent life.

If you compare the budget for Paraguay and the resources that it invests and spends, you could say that Paraguay is not necessarily a poor country, but that it is a country that has been impoverished and with a huge inequality in the distribution of resources.

Campaign proposal

The Campaign 'Disarm the Budget' demands an equitable distribution of the budget, and the transparency in the transfer of royalties to the different city councils, to be assigned to social projects. The resources for non priority activities and mainly administrative (when they are not necessary) or for reserved expenses, are always a waste. Another factor that can help the social investment in the national budget are taxes. To allocate the increased collection from taxes to activities that bring social benefits, this would allow a better distribution of the budget. It is necessary to have state policies that are sustainable and responsible to create a context in favour for a rapid reduction of poverty, if not the social policies are condemned to failure.

For the year 2008 the Campaign 'Disarm the Budget' demanded the reduction of the Military Budget to 34% that represents the amount of 31.850.000 dollars. Paraguay is a small country in relation to the other countries who are members of Mercosur, however the number of military personnel doesn't reflect this reality. The Armed Forces of Paraguay are formed of 8.395 permanent forces. Paraguay has 20 soldiers for 1.000 square kilometres, only counting the permanent soldiers (officials and sub-officials). Now if you take into account the national population and we include conscripts from the military service and students of the military academies and the staff of the Defence Minister it gives the number of 19.485 members of the Armed Forces. If we make the relation with the national population it gives an average of 32 soldiers for 10.000 inhabitants. This average number of soldiers by square kilometres in relation to the population of the country is one of the biggest in the region, being a small country the numbers are out of proportion, knowing that for 10.000 inhabitants there are only 4 doctors and 4 nurses.

Clearly it is urgent and necessary that the social investment in Paraguay is of quantity and quality. Quality so that the funds allocated to social areas can guarantee the rights of the people, keeping in mind that the amount of social investment inside the budget still is insufficiently to improve the life quality of the Paraguayan people.

Organisations behind the campaign

  • Decidamos, Campaña por la Expresión Ciudadana
  • Movimiento de Objeción de Conciencia (MOC)
  • Servicio Paz y Justicia Paraguay (Serpaj)
  • Tesai Reka Paraguay

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