Pakistan’s Defense Ministry has written a letter to the Finance Ministry to increase the salary of military personnel. It has been said in this letter that the salary should be increased by 20%.
Experts are saying that due to Corona epidemic, the time will be difficult for the economy of Pakistan, how the Imran Khan government will bear the burden of increasing the salary of the army.
The letter proposes that a temporary increase in the salary of army personnel and officers during 2016 to 2019 i.e. Adhoc Allowance should be permanently added to their basic pay and after that the salary should be increased by 20 percent.
Pakistan’s army was given 10-10 percent ad hoc relief in the financial budgets of 2016, 2017 and 2018. This relief was five percent in the 2019-20 fiscal year. Apart from this, in 2018, ‘Almyzan’ Relief Fund was also given 10%.
Earlier in 2015 too, the total salary was increased by making the ad hoc fund of the army a part of the salary of the last few years. After 2015, no budget has been increased in the basic salary, but only ad hoc relief has been given.
The basic reason for giving ad hoc relief is that due to increase in basic salary, other benefits such as pension associated with salary are also increased, which has additional burden on the national treasury.
It has also been assessed in the letter that due to this increase, the budget will increase by more than 63 billion 69 crore rupees.
It is important to note that a large part of the country’s security budget is protected for salaries and other allowances of army personnel and civilian workers, but the pension of retiring personnel is not a part of it.
The Public Relations Department of Pakistan Army confirmed the letter and called it a routine action.
An ISPR official told a news channel that before presenting the budget every year, the Finance Ministry asks for a ‘pay commission’ proposal. All the ministries and departments send a draft of their proposal in this regard. These proposals are debated before the final decision.
According to ISPR, like every year, this year also the Defense Ministry sent a draft proposal to the Finance Ministry.
According to this letter written to the Ministry of Defense after talking to the three services of the Army on behalf of Joint Staff Headquarters, the army is facing financial crisis in their current salary due to rising inflation rate in the country.
According to the letter, “The continuous decline in the country’s currency, the consumer price index, inflation and the increase in bills are affecting the military.”
According to the letter, due to the increase in tax slab, the officers whose salary had increased ad hoc also had to pay more tax than before and in this way “their salary has come down”.
Earlier, there was a big increase in the salaries of the soldiers twice. For the first time in 1999, when the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned from a visit to Kargil, he announced a big increase in the salaries of the soldiers.
After this, in 2010, the People’s Party government increased the salary of the army by 100%. At that time, Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had argued that despite the large military operations against terrorism in the country, the salaries of the soldiers are low.
A comparative report was also presented at that time, according to which the salaries of the soldiers in Pakistan were said to be lower than the forces of other countries in the Asian region.
Regarding the proposal for the latest increase, a senior finance ministry official told a news channel on condition of anonymity that it is usually at the discretion of the ministry how much it will increase the salary of employees of an agency, department or ministry.
He says, “The increase in salaries of civil government employees in particular is done by looking at various other tasks and the same method is also for the soldiers.”
An official of the Ministry of Finance expresses concern that instead of increasing the basic salary of the army, the ad hoc relief being given can be terminated at any time.
He said “The army comes under the central government but the facts related to their salary and other allowances are prepared separately. There are many allowances which are different for operational areas or hard areas allowances (areas for military operations). Allowances) that are not given to other Central Government employees. “
Where will this money come from?
There has been a demand for increase in salary from Pakistani army at a time when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said about Pakistan in April 2019 that during this financial year the country’s economy can slow down by one and a half percent. Whereas last year it saw a growth of 3.3 percent.
The IMF and the World Bank have expressed concern over the slowdown in business activity due to the virus and slowing down the pace of economic growth.
According to the IMF, the growth rate of Pakistan’s economy is expected to be negative by 1.5 percent due to the lockdown this year, compared to the growth rate of 3.3 percent last year.
Here, the State Bank of Pakistan has expressed concern in the policy statement related to agriculture that the Corona epidemic will cause great damage to the economic sector. Also centrally
The bank has cut the policy repo rate twice a month by a total of 4.25%.
If this happens, along with increase in unemployment, poverty and hunger, it can have a very negative impact on the overall economic condition of the country.
A large part of the budget in Pakistan is spent on development policies, apart from debt-withdrawal and defense.
Dr Ashfaq Hassan, a former advisor to the finance ministry and expert on economic affairs, told a news channel that Pakistan generally spends two and a half percent of its GDP on defense every year.
According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and World Bank, the rate of defense budget in Pakistan has been between 3 to 4 percent of GDP between 2015 and 2018. There was a time when the defense budget was seven percent of the country’s GDP but with the entry in the 21st century it has decreased in a big way.
According to Dr. Ashfaq Hassan “Despite the difficult economic situation, this time there will be pressure on the government to increase salary for all the departments, due to which inflation has increased recently.”
He says “Inflation has increased so much because of the loan taking on the terms of the IMF that all government employees, whether they are part of the army or not, are severely affected by this. Now demand to increase the salary It may have been and, given the current economic situation, the government may accept it. “
However, he says, “This kind of damage can be offset by revenue. But this time the case will be reversed, because all the businesses have been closed due to Corona epidemic.”
It is noteworthy that the economy has been badly affected due to the Corona epidemic in Pakistan and the Prime Minister’s Economic Adviser Hafeez Sheikh said on Friday last week that the fiscal deficit rate is expected to be nine percent of the national GDP this year.
He said that maybe this year the tax collection target could not be met. There is a possibility of a shortfall of about 20 percent in this target.