Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities surpass Rs 50 trillion

Insight Online News

Islamabad, Nov 25 : Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities have crossed Rs 50.5 trillion, official figures released on Wednesday revealed.

According to the figures released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the total debt and public debt situation deteriorated during the present regime of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

It said the current government added Rs 20.7 trillion to the figures in the past 39 months, pushing the country’s total debt and liabilities, which stood at record Rs 50.5 trillion at the end of September 2021.

The figures showed an increase of around 70 per cent in the total debt of the country.

The report stated that in June 2018, every Pakistani owed Rs 144,000, which increased to Rs 235,000 by September 2021, an additional burden of Rs 91,000 or 63 per cent, during the PTI’s tenure.

The current government is running on similar footlines as of its predecessor, being heavily dependent on foreign and domestic loans.

The situation is no different with public debt, as the current government has added Rs 16.5 trillion to the public debt during its tenure, which was equal to 165 per cent of the debt the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government acquired in five years.

According to SBP figures, the public debt increased to Rs 41.5 trillion by September this year, an addition of Rs 16.5 trillion during PTI’s tenure. Total public debt increased 66 per cent from July, 2018 to September, 2021.

The addition of Rs 16.5 trillion to the public debt in the past 39 months was equal to what the last two governments of Pakistan Peoples Party (2008-2013) and PML-N (2013-2018) added in 10 years.

With the addition from fiscal year 2018-19 to September 2021, the total public debt as on June 30, 2021 increased to Rs 41.5 trillion, or 77 per cent of GDP, the central bank reported.

On an average, Rs 14 billion was added to the public debt everyday under the PTI government. The figure is more than double the daily average addition of Rs 5.8 billion by the PML-N government.

After a five-year term under the PML-N government, the total public debt stood at Rs 24.95 trillion, or 72.5 per cent of GDP.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had been very critical of the economic policies followed by the previous PPP and PML-N governments.

He had set up a Debt Inquiry Commission to investigate the reasons behind the addition of Rs 18 trillion to the debt stock in 10 years. Despite completion of the inquiry, Khan has withheld the release of the report.

In February 2019, he had vowed to bring down the public debt to Rs 20 trillion.

According to the report, the accumulation of debt is a direct result of the gap between expenditures and revenues, which is widening due to the inelasticity of debt servicing and defence needs and the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) failure to enhance tax collection significantly.

The government, under the IMF’s loan condition, will cut the contingency grants budget by Rs 50 billion and the Public Sector Development Programme by Rs 200 billion, which will slow down the journey towards development.

With an addition of Rs 10 trillion, the federal government’s total domestic debt increased to Rs 26.4 trillion. At the end of PML-N’s tenure, the domestic debt stood at Rs16.4 trillion.

The external debt of the PTI-led government increased 77 per cent to Rs13.8 trillion in the past 39 months. At the end of PML-N’s tenure, the external debt stood at Rs 7.8 trillion.

According to the report, the steep currency depreciation also contributed to the federal government’s debt. By September 2021, the rupee-dollar parity stood at Rs 170.37. In June 2018, the value of the dollar was equal to Rs 121.54, showing a massive depreciation of nearly Rs 49 or 41 per cent.

Under the PTI government, total external debt and liabilities, which were 95.2 billion dollars in June 2018, jumped to a record high of 127 billion dollars, an addition of 32 billion dollars.

According to the central bank, the IMF debt, which was 6.1 billion dollars three years ago, jumped to 7.1 billion dollars by September this year.


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