The Pakistan government has cut by 20 per cent the non developmental expenditure of all ministries to meet defence needs amidst tensions with India after the Mumbai terror attacks.
The finance department had issued an official communication to federal government departments to scrap non developmental expenditure with "immediate effect", official sources were quoted as saying by The News daily. Finance ministry officials, speaking to the newspaper on condition of anonymity, cited two reasons for slashing non development expenses defence requirements and the deteriorating financial position of Pakistan. Development expenditure had also been whittled down before the appointment of the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, Shaukat Tarin, who played a key role in obtaining an IMF bailout package for Pakistan.
"We have already earmarked enough funds for defence and would definitely provide more, if required, but this measure of bringing down allocations by 20 per cent is to arrest expenditures," he argued.
Tarin said the reduction was not aimed at generating money exclusively for defence purposes but to avoid wastage of available funds. The Pakistan India tensions and the situation along the border had nothing to do with the recent cut in expenses, he insisted.
"We have also addressed to the defence ministry the same letter for the 20 per cent cut made on other ministries, departments and state run organisations," Tarin said. The cash starved country took the latest step to ensure the availability of funds for the armed forces in case of an emergency.