Pak may spend over Rs 910 bn on defence in 2012-13



Pak may spend over Rs 910 bn on defence in 2012-13 Islamabad: Pakistan's actual spending on defence during fiscal 2012-13 may be as high as Rs 913 billion, almost double the official allocation of Rs 545 billion.

The actual spending on defence could amount to 31 percent of the next fiscal year's budget of Rs 2.96 trillion, The Express Tribune reported on Wednesday.

Besides the official budget, an additional amount will be provided to the military out of its share in the Coalition Support Fund expected to be disbursed by the US for expenses on the war on terror.

The military will also receive services fees from the United Nations for military personnel involved in peacekeeping missions around the world.

When allocations for Pakistan's interest payments of Rs 1.1 trillion, or 35 percent of the total budget, are combined with defence spending, only one-third of the budget will be left for running the government and development, the report said.

According to official budget documents presented in Parliament by the Finance Minister on June 01, a sum of Rs 545 billion has been allocated for the defence services for 2012-13.

This was an increase of 10 percent over the Rs 495 billion provided for the fiscal year ending on June 30.

The allocation for the defence services amounts to 18.4 percent of the federal budget of Rs 2.96 trillion.

However, total allocations for the Pakistani military have been shrouded in secrecy for decades and the government does not provide details of expenditures on weapons systems and the strategic nuclear programme.

The Express Tribune reported that a "significant chunk" will be provided from the budget to pay pensions to retired military officials and to move forward with the "defence development programme”.

For the next fiscal, the government has budgeted the receipt of Rs 150 billion from the US as reimbursements from the US Coalition Support Fund.

According to an arrangement between the military and the civilian leadership, as much as 60 percent of such reimbursements would be given to the military.

By that account, the military will get Rs 90 billion next year if the US reimburses the outstanding amount.

The UN will provide Rs 30 billion next year as services fee for Pakistani forces taking part in peacekeeping missions.

The government has allocated Rs 98 billion for military pensions, according to budget documents.

Of the official allocation of Rs 545 billion for the defence services, Rs 264.4 billion has been set aside for the Army, Rs 114.2 billion for the Air Force and Rs 52.8 billion for the Navy.

Besides that, Rs 114 billion has been placed under the head of "establishment and organs account”.

PTI