Islamabad, Nov 27 (ANI): A senior Pakistani official has claimed that the country's defence spending exceeded the first quarter's (July-September 2010) budgetary limits by about Rs28 billion, and that the continuation of this pace could result in the annual defence expenditure crossing Rs580 billion.
The expenditure reportedly exceeded the budgeted amount mainly because of the war on terror and the military's prolonged stay in the tribal region.
According to the Dawn, the budget for the current fiscal year earmarked Rs442 billion for defence.
Higher than planned expenditure on defence and flood rescue and relief work and lower than estimated revenue collection in the first quarter had increased the quarterly fiscal deficit to 1.6 per cent from the budgeted target of 1.4 per cent of GDP, the official said.
The paper quoted the official as saying that the defence spending during the July-September quarter was estimated at about Rs89 billion, but provisional figures for the period available with the finance ministry put it at about 117 billion. The defence expenditure during the same period in 2009 was about Rs86 billion.
With this pace of spending, the annual defence expenditure could cross Rs580 billion, against the Rs552 billion estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the budgeted allocation of Rs442 billion, he added.
The finance ministry's guidelines for the current expenditure reportedly require all government agencies and ministries, including the offices of the President and the prime minister, to keep expenditures at 20 percent of the approved allocation for the first and second quarters of the fiscal year and 30 per cent in the third and fourth quarters.
The official further stated that provisional data on fiscal operations had been shared with the IMF and would be made public by the end of this month. (ANI)