IDF training base - Alon Ron
An IDF training base in the Negev. Many army installations have inferior sewage treatment facilities, or none at all. Photo by Alon Ron
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The Defense Ministry has grossly over-estimated the costs of moving key military units down to the Negev, according to an external consultant hired by the Finance Ministry to review the project.

In a letter dispatched to other government ministries, whose contents were published yesterday in TheMarker, the Defense Ministry said that moving the army's intelligence, computer and logistics units from the center of the country to the south would cost NIS 20 billion-NIS 30 billion.

The Finance Ministry consultant put the tab at a much lower NIS 6.5 billion.

"The treasury will demand that the defense establishment bear a large portion of the cost of the move," a Finance Ministry official told TheMarker yesterday.

The Defense Ministry's calculations include not just the cost of the land, but also the cost of equipment upgrades, the finance official said.

"If the army wants to upgrade old systems, it should pay for it itself," the official said.