Myth number 1: Pakistan’s defence budget takes away a major chunk of the total budgetary resources. Not true. In Budget 2021-22, ‘Defence Services’ has been allocated Rs1,370...
Myth number 1: Pakistan’s defence budget takes away a major chunk of the total budgetary resources. Not true. In Budget 2021-22, ‘Defence Services’ has been allocated Rs1,370 billion out of total budgetary resources of Rs8,487 billion – and that is a mere 16 percent of the total budgetary resources. In effect, 16 percent for defence and 84 percent for non-defence related expenses. For the record, in Budget 2020-21, defence-related expenses comprised 17.67 percent of the total expenses. In effect, the defence budget as a percentage of the total outlay has gone down from 17.67 percent last year to 16 percent.
Myth number 2: Over the years, our defence budget has been rising at an accelerated pace. Not true. Here’s the fact: in the 1970s the allocation for defence amounted to 6.50 percent of our GDP. In 2001-02, the allocation for defence stood at 4.6 percent of GDP. In Budget 2021-22, an allocation of Rs1,370 for defence is 2.8 percent of GDP. Last year, we spent 2.86 percent of GDP on defence. In effect, over the past fifty years, the defence budget as a percentage of GDP has gone down – rather drastically – from 6.50 percent of GDP in the 1970s to 2.8 percent this year. The US, for instance, spends 3.4 percent of GDP on defence while India is at 2.4 percent.
Here are some of the countries that spend more of their GDP on defence than does Pakistan: Oman spends 12 percent of its GDP on defence, Afghanistan 10.6 percent, Lebanon 10.5 percent, Saudi Arabia 8 percent, Kuwait 7.1 percent, Algeria 6.7 percent, Iraq 5.8 percent, UAE 5.6 percent, Azerbaijan 4 percent, Morocco 5.3 percent, Israel 5.2 percent, Jordan 4.9 percent, Armenia 4.8 percent, Mali 4.5 percent, Qatar 4.4 percent, Russia 3.9 percent, US 3.4 percent and South Sudan 3.4 percent (source: SIPRI Military Expenditure Database and ‘The Military Balance’ from the International Institute for Strategic Studies).
Myth number 3: Pakistan Army takes away a major chunk of the entire defence budget. Not true. Of the Rs1,370 allocation for defence, Pakistan Army gets Rs594 billion or 44 percent. In effect, Pakistan Army gets a paltry 7 percent of the total budgetary resources.
Fact: The world spends $1.98 trillion on defence. Of the total global defence spending, the US constitutes 39 percent, China 13 percent, India 3.7 percent, Russia 3 percent and Pakistan 0.44 percent (along with others). Yes, India at $73 billion is now ahead of Russia. Pakistan spends around $8.7 billion.
Fact: Pakistan’s defence budget on a per capita basis is one of the lowest in the world. Pakistan spends $40 on a per capita basis while Israel spends $2,200 on a per capita basis. According to Global Firepower, Pakistan’s armed forces are “ranked as the 10th most powerful military in the world.”
Fact: On the basis of ‘expenses per soldier’, Pakistan’s armed forces come out as the most efficient on the face of the planet. The US spends $392,000 on a per soldier basis, Saudi Arabia $371,000, India $42,000, Iran $23,000 and Pakistan $13,400.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad.
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