LAHORE - The General Elections 2013 will cost Rs 23.96 billion if the proposed expenditure of Election Commission of Pakistan does not exceed the estimates and the candidates do not spend more than allowed amount on their campaigns.

The ECP has allowed the National Assembly and provincial assembly candidates to spend maximum Rs 1.5 million and Rs 1 million, respectably. A total of 4,671 candidates are contesting on the 272 National Assembly general seats and if the contenders do not exceed their limit of election expenditure, they will spend Rs 7 billion on their campaigns.

Likewise, 10,958 candidates of all the four provincial assemblies will spend Rs 10.9 billion on their election campaigns if they do not exceed their allowed limit.

The ECP had proposed Rs 6 billion election budget to be spent on various heads. The commission was given the funds in two installments (first installment of Rs 3.10 billion and the second one of Rs 290 billion. The federal government also told the commission that, if needed, it would be provided with more funds.

As per details, the ECP is spending its major funds on payment to the election staff, Nadra and printing of ballot papers. The commission is unitizing 750,000 staff workforce on the election day, including 33,000 police personnel. The commission has given Rs 35 million to Punjab police for purchasing metal detectors and others equipment. It has also provided funds to the police of the other provinces, according to their needs.

The major amount will be spent on payment to the election staff. The commission is paying Rs 1,000 to each presiding officer and Rs 500 to supporting staffers. So far, the commission has paid Rs 50 million to Printing Corporation of Pakistan for the printing of 180 million ballot papers. It has also paid Rs 7.5m to Nadra for its services.

On the other hand, the Punjab government has instructed all the district governments to spend up to Rs one million for smooth power supply on the polling day if Pepco fails to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply. Hence, Punjab province may spend Rs 37 million that will be added to the above mentioned amount. The other provinces may also spend some funds on provision of smooth electricity supply on the polling stations on the polling day.