Thursday, December 16, 2010

Army's request for Rs 45 bn will strain Pak economy: Gilani

Pakistan Army's request for an additional budgetary allocation of Rs 45 billion for meeting burgeoning security needs will strain the country's limited financial resources, officials have informed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, a media report said on Wednesday.
The government's economic team led by Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh conveyed this to the premier during a briefing on Tuesday, The Express Tribune newspaper quoted sources in the finance ministry as saying.

The team told Gilani about the "prevailing grave economic situation" and difficulties in bridging the ever-widening "gap between national income and expenditure."

The briefing focused on the consequences of delaying power sector reforms, the fallout of the non-implementation of reforms in General Sales Tax and the army’s request for additional funds.

The Finance Minister met the army chief in Rawalpindi last week to discuss the matter. The Finance Ministry indicated an additional Rs 10 billion could be set aside for the army and this would hike the defence budget to Rs 452 billion, sources said.

Reports have suggested that the defence allocation could balloon from Rs 442 billion to Rs 580 billion because of the war on terror and the army’s prolonged stay in the restive tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

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