Islamabad: Pakistan's cash-strapped new government announced a hefty 15 per cent hike in its defence budget to Rs 627 billion, with the powerful Army getting the lion's share of the outlay.
The government increased the allocation for defence in its budget for fiscal 2013-14 to Rs 627 billion (about $ 6.32 billion), marking an increase of little more than 15 per cent over the outlay for the current fiscal.
The allocation for the three defence services amounted to 15.73 per cent of the federal budget of Rs 3.985 trillion for fiscal 2013-14. The Army got the lion's share of the outlay with Rs 301.54 billion. The air force was allocated Rs 131.18 billion while the outlay for the navy was Rs 62.80 billion.
Further details, including allocations for weapons acquisition programmes, were not immediately available. Official budget documents presented in parliament said a sum of Rs 627 billion had been allocated for the defence services for 2013-14, compared with Rs 545 billion (about 5.82 billion dollars) provided in the fiscal year ending on June 30.
However, the documents listed the revised estimate for defence spending in the current fiscal at Rs 570 billion, and the new outlay of Rs 627 billion marked an increase of 10 per cent over this figure.
The budget documents further showed that the new PML-N government had allocated Rs 2300 million for the Defence Production Division in the Public Sector Development Programme for 2013-14.
Of this amount, Rs 2246.300 million has been allocated for installing a ship lift, transfer system and associated machinery and equipment to provide docking and repair facilities for surface ships, submarines and commercial vessels at Karachi port.
Pakistan's new government led by Nawaz Sharif took office last week and faces big challenges like reducing budget deficit and crippling energy crisis.