Defence budget increased to Rs 860 billion

The government has increased defence spending for 2016-17 by 10.2 percent to Rs 860 billion. Presenting the budget in the National Assembly on Friday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the defence budget is being increased from Rs 781 billion for the outgoing fiscal year to Rs 860 billion for the year 2016-17.

The actual increase in defence expenditure is about 10.9 percent or Rs 84 billion when compared to the revised figures for 2015-16 of Rs 775 billion.

The Defence Ministry had suggested that budgetary allocations for the three armed forces should be linked to threat perception and had further maintained that the threat perception had increased due to the current geo-political situation and Pakistan’s strategic location in the area. Of the Rs 860 billion earmarked for the armed forces, Rs 327 billion would be spent on expenses related to employees that include pays and allowances of uniformed troops and civilian employees.

Operating expenditures of the armed forces on transport, POL, rations, medical treatment and training are expected to consume another Rs 216 billion. Civil works that account for maintenance of infrastructure and construction of new buildings would receive Rs 104 billion. Rs 211 billion would be provided for physical assets, including procurement and maintenance of arms and ammunition.

The share of various services in the defence budget is as follows: army Rs 409 billion, air force Rs 182 billion, navy (Rs 93 billion) and the Defence Establishment including ISI Rs 174 billion. The defence ministry had sought Rs 920 billion – Rs 139 billion or roughly 18 percent higher than this year’s budget.

The demand for defence procurements was over and above this amount. The defence ministry has requested support from US authorities to the tune of $8 billion over the next five to eight years for the development of FATA, according to the report.  –Business Recorder