Rs1.52tr allocated for defence spending

All three services — army, navy and air force — given equal increase

Our Correspondent June 11, 2022
Armed forces personnel take part in the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2015. PHOTO: AFP


The federal government has proposed a 2.69 per cent increase in the defence budget as Pakistan is facing an economic crunch and thus resorting to unpopular measures to avoid a potential default.

The budget document on Friday showed that the defence outlay for fiscal year 2022-23 would be Rs1,523 billion as compared to the revised defence spending of Rs1,483 earmarked for the ongoing fiscal. However, the proposed increase in defence spending reaches 11 per cent when compared with the pre-revision budget of Rs1,370 billion.

Observers, however, claimed that given the skyrocketing inflation in reality there was no increase in defence spending during the last three years.

Read more: Govt unveils Rs9.5 trillion federal budget for 2022-23

Some observers say the increase in defence budget has not even covered the full impact of inflation.

A closer look at the budget details revealed that the Rs1,523 billion figure did not include Rs395 billion allocated for pensions of retired military personnel and Rs463 billion for the armed forces development programme as well as other essential expenditures.

According to the budget document 2022-23, out of Rs1,523 billion, Rs567 billion has been allocated for employee-related expenses, Rs368 billion for operating expenses, Rs411 billion for local purchases and import of arms and ammunition as well as Rs175 billion for civil works.

Interestingly, all three services—the army, navy and air force—were given an equal increase of 2.69 per cent in the budget, although the army takes the major share given its size and role.

Pakistan’s defence spending of almost two per cent of its GDP shows a decline compared to last year. The defence spending in 2020-21 was 2.8 per cent of the country’s GDP, the size of which has grown due to the rebasing of the economy.

On average, Pakistan spends $13,400 per soldier, India $42,000, Saudi Arabia $371,000, Iran $23,000 while the United States allocates $392,000 per soldier annually. The difference, however, between Pakistan and other countries is that the size of their economies is far bigger than Pakistan.

Also read: Country’s defence budget allocation mere pennies compared to India

Observers believe that the increase in the defence budget is justified given the impending external and internal security challenges.

Despite the US troops’ withdrawal from neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan still deploys thousands of troops along the western border as well as in the erstwhile tribal areas to deal with the threat of terrorism.

Similarly, the tensions between Pakistan and India still persist, although the restoration of the ceasefire has brought some respite.

Meanwhile, given the unprecedented increase in oil prices, the military is taking measures to cut use of oil products. Friday has been declared a “dry day” meaning on Fridays except in emergency situations, no transport would be used.


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