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Pakistan’s defense budget is 18.4%, but at what cost?

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When it comes to the currency distribution that runs a country, Pakistan believes in taking more from its citizens than giving it to them, even if this compromises health services and education needs, both necessities. most basic of any common poor man to survive and grow. life.

According to World Bank data, Pakistan’s military spending represented 18.435% of its general government spending in 2019. India, according to current budget estimates, will devote 13.73% of government spending to the defense sector this year.

While India has seen a sustained decline in its military spending, from 17.08% in 2016-17 to 13.73% now, Pakistan has steadily increased it since 2013, from 15 , 9% to about 18.4%.

It is in a country where every Pakistani citizen has a loan of 175,000 Pakistani rupees (PKR) or $ 1,118.45 as accepted by the Pakistani government in its parliament recently. And 46% of them were added in the past two years under Imran Khan’s tenure alone.

How much does Pakistan devote to the basic needs of its citizens, to their health and education needs?

Almost nothing when we see the last budgetary allocations made. According to Pakistan’s 2020-2021 budget, the current estimated spending is PKR 6,345 billion or $ 41 billion (based on the current calculation of PKR against the US dollar) out of total spending of $ 44 billion.

Of this current spending, 47% or $ 19.35 billion is spent on debt service. Pakistan has an external debt of $ 114 billion which invariably results in Pakistan taking more loans and imposing more taxes and surcharges to meet its repayment obligations. Means, put more debt on the Pakistanis.

Defense allocations represent about 19% of the current budget or $ 8.5 billion. But according to an analysis in an Al-Jazeera report, if you count in other defense spending not mentioned in the budget, it is around $ 11 billion or 25%.

Pakistanis’ budget did not include many defense allocations such as arms acquisitions, military pensions, nuclear program, paramilitary forces and many more, according to the analysis, which places defense spending Pakistanis around $ 11 billion.

The Pakistani economy is surviving on a $ 6 billion IMF loan package and Pakistan is under enormous pressure to show it that it is using the scarce resources it has wisely and that we can understand why the country was forced to hide all of its defense spending. in the budget.

If the IMF is not happy, it will not relaunch its $ 6 billion Extended Financing Program (EFF) that an indebted country like Pakistan desperately needs because no EFF program means no support from other global financial institutions. like the World Bank and AfDB.

Imran Khan’s government in Pakistan plans to cover most of these expenses by increasing tax collection, although no new taxes were announced in the budget. A tax collection target of $ 32.6 billion has been set, an increase of over 27% from the previous year, to meet the revenue target of $ 43.16 billion.

How does this reflect on Pakistanis already in debt?

According to the World Bank, Pakistan’s population was 21.66 crore in 2019. The $ 11 billion in defense spending represents an additional $ 51 or a charge of PKR 7,767 for each Pakistan to reach the figure set in the latest budget.

But when we compare it to the overall goal of collecting taxes, it looks even more grim, an additional burden of $ 150 or PKR 22,845.

Of course, not every Pakistani citizen is a taxpayer. In addition, the Pakistanis have no direct obligation to pay the loan of $ 1,118.45, but indirectly they will have to share the burden when it comes to generating income to repay the debt. The article here makes a general calculation to shed light on the dire situation in which every Pakistani citizen finds himself, especially when we compare it to the social protection measures taken by the government.

The 2020-2021 budget cut subsidies by 48%, increased the oil tax by 73%, and froze wage and pension increases. Add to that, Pakistan recently decided to dramatically increase electricity tariffs to meet yet another IMF demand.

For the two most basic basic needs of an ordinary man, health and education, he allocated only $ 151 million and $ 545 million respectively in the last budget. These are allowances so small that you can’t even compare them with the extremely high defense or infrastructure allowances.

It comes down to $ 0.7 or 106 PKR for every Pakistani citizen every year. Imagine how Pakistan would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes to education, the only empowerment opportunity for an ordinary person, the Imran Khan government decided to spend only $ 2.5 or PKR 381 per year. It is in a country where 64% of the population is under 30 years old and 29% of the population is between 15 and 29 years old according to a UNDP analysis.

It humiliates them, especially when you gave military companies in your country a $ 91 million tax exemption last time around; especially as Pakistan looks at 25 million more poor families to take care of after the COVID pandemic; especially when economic growth already in free fall has fallen further with the pandemic, dropping from 2.4% in 2020-2021 to -1.5% now.

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