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Monday July 15, 2024

Defence budget hiked to Rs2.122tr

Proposed allocations, however, have been reduced in terms of percentage of total outlay of federal budget

By Muhammad Anis
June 13, 2024
Pakistan Army soldiers march during a military parade to mark Pakistan Day in Islamabad. — AFP/File
Pakistan Army soldiers march during a military parade to mark Pakistan Day in Islamabad. — AFP/File

RAWALPINDI: The Shehbaz Sharif-led government on Wednesday proposed a Rs2,122 billion defence budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, showing an increase of 17.62 percent over the estimated allocations of Rs1,804 billion for the fiscal year 2023-24.

The proposed allocations, however, have been reduced in terms of the percentage of the total outlay of the federal budget, which is 11.24 percent of the total outlay of Rs18.877 trillion.

The estimated allocations for the fiscal year 2023-24 for defence services were 12.47 percent of the total outlay of Rs14.46 trillion. Budget documents also show that there is a Rs318 billion increase in the defence budget compared to the previous budget, but the allocations are now reduced from 12.47 percent to 11.24 percent of the total outlay.

A major chunk of the defence budget, which is Rs815 billion, would be spent on employee-related expenses, including salaries and allowances for defence services. Expenses under this head were Rs715 billion for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2024.

This increase is a result of the finance minister’s announcement to increase the salaries of government employees by 22 to 25 percent. Other heads of the proposed budget for defence services include Rs548 billion for physical assets, Rs513.3 billion for operational expenses and Rs244 billion for civil works.

The federal government has proposed Rs1,009 billion allocation for the Pakistan Army, Rs230.3 billion for the Pakistan Navy, Rs451 billion for the Pakistan Air Force and Rs431.4 billion for other establishments.

It may be pointed out that India’s defence budget announced in February this year is $75 billion, which is almost 10 times higher than Pakistan’s defence budget proposals of $7.59 billion.