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|June 13, 1998||
Nine per cent hike in Pak defence outlay
Pakistan has increased its defence allocation by nine per cent - to 3.2 billion dollars.
However, after inflation, which officially stands at 8.5 per cent, but unofficially is closer to 13 per cent, the actual defence spending went up only 0.5 per cent.
The budget comes just two weeks after Pakistan tested six nuclear devices generating a global condemnation and threats of economic sanctions.
''We are prepared to make any sacrifice for the security and solidarity of our homeland,'' Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz said in his budget speech.
Defence and debt servicing are Pakistan's two biggest expenditures.
Debt servicing is the biggest, costing Pakistan a whopping $ 9 billion or two-thirds of its budget. This is almost twice the interest Pakistan paid last year.
This year Aziz said Pakistan's deficit was 5.4 per cent of the gross domestic product, the lowest since this poor country of 140 million people became indebted to international lending institutions some 17 years ago.
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