ISLAMABAD: As the nation prepares its fate in the upcoming elections the federal government on Friday proposed Rs16 billion in its budget for Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for general elections, in addition to the normal budget of the top polls supervisory body.
The government has reserved the amount under the head of miscellaneous expenses outside Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). It has reserved Rs18 billion under this special head.
Like other constitutional bodies, the budget for ECP comes under charged expenditures; it is approved by national assembly without voting.
Officials of the finance ministry told The Express Tribune that ECP had demanded a total of Rs28 billion for elections. Out of this amount Rs7.7 billion has already been released during the ongoing financial year while Rs16 billion have been allocated for the next year. The remaining Rs3 billion can also be arranged, later, the officials added.
For normal ECP expenses, the government has allocated Rs2.5 billion separately in the next year’s budget. An amount of Rs1.4 billion has been earmarked as employee’s related expenses. Of this amount, Rs674 million under the head of pay with Rs288.7 billion would be going to salaries of the officers and Rs385.3 billion for the salaries of other staff.
ECP will get Rs725.9 billion for allowances, which includes Rs545 million as regular allowances and Rs180 million under the head of travel allowances.
In other major heads, ECP will be getting Rs1.05 billion as operating expense, Rs47 million for physical assets, and Rs21 million for repairs and maintenance.
For the outgoing financial year 2017-18 ECP was initially allocated Rs2.3 billion budget.
However, revised estimates for ECP expenses accumulated to Rs8.99 billion after the top election body was provided Rs7.7 billion as operating expenses for preparation of elections to the national and provincial assemblies.
Finance ministry officials said the government would keep another cushion of the remaining Rs3 billion, which the ECP has demanded for polling-related expenses.