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Pakistan hikes defense spending in new budget


08:24, June 13, 2013

ISLAMABAD, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan on Wednesday increased the defense allocation in its budget for fiscal 2013-14 to 627 billion rupees (6.32 billion U.S. dollars), a nearly 15 percent hike over the outlay for the current fiscal year ends on June 30.

A total of 570 billion rupees had been allocated for defense spending in the 2012-13 budget.

The budget documents show that allocation for the three defense services amounted to 15.73 percent of the federal budget of 3.98 trillion rupees for 2013-14.

The army received the main share of the outlay with 301.54 billion rupees. The allocation for the air force was 131.18 billion rupees, while the outlay for the navy was 62.80 billion rupees.

The budget presented by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the National Assembly also shows that the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has allocated 2.3 billion rupees for the Defense Production Division in the Public Sector Development Program for 2013-14.

The finance minister said the government will take measures to bring down fiscal deficit, which will definitely lead to control in inflation. The fiscal deficit, which now accounts for 8.8 percent of the GDP, will be brought down to 4 percent of GDP in the next three years.

He said the prime minister has established initial contact with China for construction of a modern express way from Gwadar in Balochistan to Kashgar. "It will open a new era of development in the region," he said.

The finance minister noted that a feasibility study on linking Pakistan with Afghanistan and China through rail will be worked out.

He added that the Karachi circular railway project will be launched with Japanese technical and financial assistance.

Foreign exchange reserves, which stands at present at 11 billion U.S. dollars, will be increased to 20 billion dollars by 2015-16.

The finance minister also said that the government will spend the bulk of the development budget on the energy sector and that a total of 225 billion rupees have been allocated for the purpose

He also announced that 3G telecom licenses will be auctioned.

The finance minister said that the government had proposed to bring General Sales Tax up from 16 percent to 17 percent.

The budget has not suggested any increase in salaries of government employees. However, a 10 percent increase has been proposed in the pension for retired civil and military personnel.

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