The German Army Is 'Wasting Millions Of Taxpayer Dollars On Sunscreen And Lipbalm'

German Troops

Photo: ISAF Media

Germany’s army is wasting millions of euros of taxpayers’ money producing its own sunscreen, cough drops and lip balm rather than buying them off the shelf, auditors have said.Compounding the problem, about 90pc of some the military’s own personal care products end up being thrown away, said the report by the German Federal Court of Auditors.

“There’s a lot of scope to eliminate waste,” Court of Auditors president Dieter Engels told reporters in Berlin, Reuters reported.

The annual report said the army had spent €20m on building a facility to produce its own products, which also included insect repellent and nasal sprays.

The auditors issued a list of broader recommendations to tighten up the country’s tax administration system and other areas which Engels estimated could save Germany around €10bn a year.

The report will embarrass many in Germany, where officials have been especially vocal in criticising Greece and other crisis-hit euro zone countries for failing to collect taxes efficiently.

The auditors questioned the wisdom of a reduction in the number of tax office auditing staff, which led to a reduction in the number of audits and a corresponding drop in income tax revenues from €911m in 2005 to €787m in 2010.

“It’s a question of cost effectiveness,” said Engels. “That doesn’t always mean the cheapest way is the best way but rather it’s important to keep the cost-benefit ratio in mind.”

The federal government could reduce its own deficit and the national debt at a faster pace by eliminating some of the waste, the report said.

“Net new borrowing could be reduced even further this year,” said Engels, referring to the government’s recent announcement that net new borrowing would be €17.1bn in 2013.

The government expects to have a balanced budget in 2014.

The auditors cited one federal agency that had 4,350 computers but only 1,800 workers.

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