ISLAMABAD: The coalition government Friday proposed Rs1,523 billion defence budget for fiscal year 2022-23, which shows 11.16 per cent increase over the estimated allocations of Rs1,370 billion for fiscal year 2021-22.
According to Global Firepower, the Pakistan Armed Forces are ranked as the 9th most powerful military in the world. However, the budgetary allocation for this head has considerably been reduced in view of inflation and in terms of US dollar from $8.89 billion in FY2021-22 to $7.56 billion in FY2022-2023. The proposed defence allocations are 16.02 per cent, almost the same as compared to the last fiscal year, 16.1pc of the federal budget’s total outlay of Rs9,502 billion.
The defence budget is also reduced from 2.6pc of GDP to 2.2pc of total GDP. “This is for the third consecutive year that the armed forces not only did not demand an increase in defence budget rather defence allocations have come down,” military sources said.
The government announced defence budget of Rs1,370 billion for financial year 2021-22, which later was revised to Rs1,480 billion. This year an increase of Rs153 billion has been made in the defence budget.
Keeping in view the ongoing inflation, there is also Rs56 billion reduction impact on the defence budget. Despite 11.16pc increase in budget allocations for defence services, the budget in this head has reduced in terms of US dollars due to depreciation of Pakistani rupee. Pakistan proposed US$8.89bn defence budget for the fiscal year 2021-22, which was 5.5 times less than India’s defence budget of $49bn.
However, for the financial year 2022-23, Pakistan in terms of dollars proposed $7.56 billion budget, which is 9.3 times less than adversary’s defence allocations of $70.6 billion announced earlier this year.
The major chunk of the defence budget, which is Rs567.494 billion, would be spent on the employees related expenses including salaries and allowances of defence services, Rs411.15 billion on physical assets, Rs368.915 billion on operating while Rs175.4 billion have been proposed for civil works.
“Despite economic constraints being faced by the country, the armed forces did not allow any shortcomings in defence and war abilities,” the military sources said. Sources said that as a contribution to stabilise the economy, the armed forces took a big decision by reducing expenses in different areas. These include considerable reduction in telephone, electricity, gas and water bills besides less consumption of fuel.
“It has been also decided to declare Friday as ‘Dry Day’ and there would be no use of any official transport on that day,” the sources said. It has also been decided to conduct small-scale trainings in areas near cantonments instead of holding exercises in far-flung areas. There would be online working in connection with different conferences.
Sources said the Pakistan Army also returned Rs6 billion, which was given to the institution under the head of COVID-19 activities, to the government. Another Rs3.5 billion saved from purchase of equipment was also returned to the government.
All agreements on procurement of defence equipment would also be converted to the local currency. Sources further said that Pakistan Army also deposited Rs935 billion as direct and indirect taxes and duties.
According to data collected by The News, the defence budget of Saudi Arabia is $55.6 billion, Iran $24.6 billion, UAE $22.5 billion and China $293 billion. According to data, Pakistan spends US$13,400 per soldier of armed forces annually as compared to India’s spending of US$42,000 per soldier. Similarly, Iran’s spending is $23,000 per soldier per year, the United States $392,000, and Saudi Arabia $371,000.