ISLAMABAD: Presidency’s budget saw a visible surge of almost 8% with the allocation of Rs1.036 billion in the new federal budget compared to Rs959.69 million allocated in the outgoing fiscal year 2017-18, revised at Rs962.69 million.
Prime Minister Office’s budget has also been amplified by 7.5% in the federal budget 2018-19 with the allocation of Rs986 million in comparison with Rs916.722 allocated in the outgoing fiscal year.
Budgetary allocations for the fiscal year starting from July 1 suggest that in the new federal budget, Rs86.5 million have been allocated for the Presidency under the head of ‘grants, subsidies and write off loans.’
Moreover, Rs709 million have been earmarked for ‘employees related expenses’ including Rs288 million for ‘pay’, Rs119 million for ‘pay of officers,’ and Rs168 million for ‘pay of other staff.’ While, Rs420 million have been allocated in upcoming fiscal year for ‘allowances’ including Rs310 million for ‘regular allowances’ and Rs109 million for ‘other allowances excluding travelling allowance’. Separately, Rs15 million have been allocated under ‘employees’ retirement benefits.’
In the outgoing budget, Presidency’s financial plan saw a massive increase of 11% with the allocation of Rs959 million as compared to the previously assigned Rs863 million in the fiscal year 2016-17, reviewed at Rs941 million.
Furthermore, for PM Office, Rs706 million have been allocated under ‘employees related expenses’ including Rs343 million for ‘pay’ in the recently announced budget. Rs363 million have been reserved for ‘allowances while Rs73 million have been specified for ‘grants, subsidies and write off loans’.
Structurally, The PM Office comprises of two sections; Public and Internal. With Rs454 million being allocated to the public, the internal division is set to receive Rs3.9 million. Both the subdivisions have been given an ample increase in their funds in the newly presented budget. In addition, Rs3.5 million has also been allocated under the head of ‘Entertainment and Gifts’ at the disposal of PM House.
Like every year, PM Office’s budget also includes the budget of the PM House, which has not been specified in the budgetary documents, officials told The Express Tribune.
Similarly, the federal budget also does not include the discretionary funds the premier has at his disposal to spend in any given area including development schemes in political constituencies and related activities. These discretionary funds are believed to be estimated in billions and are likely to be spent ‘heftily’ ahead of general elections even though the federal government’s tenure is going to end on May 31, a month before the start of new fiscal year on July 1.
Likewise, the President House’s budget too has not been specified in the 2018-19 budgetary allocations. In the fiscal year 2016-17, a smaller amount of Rs1 million was shown to have been allocated under the discretionary grant for the President’s Office. Officials, however, argue that these funds were actually in billions.