WARSAW, Poland — Poland's military modernization program under which the Defence Ministry is to spend some 130 billion zloty (US $34 billion) by 2022 on new weapons and military equipment was underfunded by the previous government, according to Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz.

The minister said that if all of the acquisitions are carried out, the program will total at least 235 billion zloty.

"The government of Prime Minister Beata Szydlo is conscious of the fact that Poland, if it is to be independent and capable of ensuring its genuine sovereignty, needs to have a larger and stronger military," Macierewicz told pro-government news weekly wSieci during his visit to the Polish military contingent in Afghanistan.

According to the minister, the previous government did not take into account the costs of servicing, modernizing and purchasing spare parts for the acquired gear, which resulted with a relatively low final estimate for the program.

Macierewicz said that his ministry is currently evaluating the planned procurements, and that, over the past few years, Poland's defense budget has not been fully used due to the "corruption and incompetence of the administration of the armed forces."

The incumbent defense minister was appointed to his post in November 2015. He is a member of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party that won the October 25, 2015, general election after eight years in opposition.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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