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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Govt hikes defence budget by 6%

ECC approves over Rs1.45 trillion hike to meet the needs of the armed forces, including enhanced salary requirements.

The government on Friday approved a 6% hike in the defence budget for the outgoing fiscal year to over Rs1.45 trillion.

The decision to increase the defence budget by another Rs80 billion was taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, despite only a month remaining for the fiscal year to end.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet also approved a total of Rs182 billion in supplementary grants.

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According to Express News, the Defence Ministry had demanded an additional Rs80 billion for “critical shortfalls” in addition to making spending adjustments on the Jinnah Naval Base, the Naval Base Turbat, and the multi-functional office building in the headquarters.

The ECC meeting, presided by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, approved Rs80 billion supplementary budget “in a bid to meet the needs of the armed forces, including their enhanced salary requirements.”

The ministry predicts that the additional spending in the fiscal year 2021-22, ending on June 30, will be less than Rs80 billion, Express News reported.

Last year, the National Assembly approved a Rs1.373 trillion defence budget. However, with the raise in the spending ceiling, the following year’s defence budget will cross the estimated Rs1.55 trillion.

In the previous year’s budget, the Defence Ministry got Rs153 billion or 11.8% additional money, equal to the average inflation rate in Pakistan.

The defence spending will be equal to 2.2% of the Gross Domestic Product, excluding expenditures on the armed forces development programme.

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Last year in July, the previous government had given armed forces a 15% special allowance, jacking up the army budget requirements by another Rs38 billion per annum.