Pakistan Defence budget Pakistan- Myths and Reality

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Pakistan Defence Pakistan budget- Myths and Reality

By Farrukh Saleem

Myth 1: Our defence budget eats up the lion’s share of the total budgetary outlay.


Fact: The total outlay of Budget 2016-17 is Rs4,897 billion of which ‘Defence Affairs and Services’ has been allocated Rs860 billion – amounting to 17.6 percent of the total outlay.


Myth 2: Over the years, the defence budget has been devouring an increasing portion of our national resources.


Fact: In FY 2001-02, fourteen years ago, the allocation for defence amounted to 4.6 percent of GDP. In 2003-04, the defence budget dropped to 3.9 percent of GDP. And for the following nine years the allocation for defence kept on dropping till it hit a low of 2.3 percent of GDP in 2012-13. Budget 2016-17 has allocated Rs860 billion for ‘Defence Affairs and Services’ which is 2.6 percent of our Rs33 trillion GDP.


Myth: Our expenditure on defence is the single largest expense item in the budget.


Fact: The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) amounting to Rs1,675 billion is the single largest entry in the budget followed by debt servicing of Rs1,360 billion. ‘Defence Affairs and Services’, at Rs860 billion, is the third largest.

Myth: The Pakistan Army consumes almost the entire defence budget.


Fact: In the 1970s, Pak Army’s budget as a percentage of the entire defence budget had hit a high of 83.4 percent. Since the 1980s, Pak Army’s budget as a percentage of the defence budget has hovered around 47 percent. In 2016-17, Pak Army’s share stands at 48 percent of the entire allocation for defence; Pakistan Air Force has 21 percent, Pakistan Navy has 11 percent and defence production stands with 20 percent.


Myth: Pak Army’s budget as a percentage of our national budget has been growing.


Fact: In the 1960s, Pak Army’s budget as a percentage of our national budget had hit a high of 42 percent. Over the years, Pak Army’s budget as a percentage of our national budget has dropped sharply and it now amounts to under 9 percent.


Myth: A large percentage of the defence budget is discretionary in nature.


Fact: Of the Rs860 billion, 63 percent comprises salaries, 18 percent is ration and petrol, 10 percent is gas and electricity with the remaining 9 percent going towards uniforms.


Myth: The defence budget has been increasing at a higher rate than the rate of inflation.


Fact: Budget 2005-06 was the only budget over the past decade in which the increase in the defence budget equalled the rate of inflation. For every other year, the rate of inflation has been higher than the increase in the allocation for defence. For the record, over the past two decades India’s defence budget has gone from $10 billion to $50 billion. For the record, India is expanding the spectrum of conflict with Pakistan to water, diplomacy and supporting militancy within Pakistan. For the record, the US spends $459,000 per soldier per year; Saudi Arabia $339,000, India $33,000, Turkey $28,000, Egypt $18,000 and Pakistan $12,000. The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

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