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National News
September 11,2018

Top finance ministry debt manager quits to make room for PTI govt’s pick

Mehtab Haider

ISLAMABAD: The top debt management official of the Finance Ministry, a handpicked nominee of the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) administration, has resigned to make room for the appointment of a successor by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government.

The resignation of Ehitsham Rashid, the Director General (DG) Debt Policy Coordination Office (DPCO) of the Ministry of Finance, comes after public debt and liabilities climbed to Rs30 trillion at the end of financial year 2017-18 on June 30. External debt - including private projects covered by sovereign guarantees - has also crossed $95 billion

“Now the PTI-led government has decided to advertise this post for selection of a new candidate and then a summary will be moved for the appointment of a new DG Debt Office to Prime Minister Imran Khan,” a top official told The News here on Monday.

The erstwhile PML-N administration brought in Ehitsham on deputation from the National Bank of Pakistan in December 2014. He served as the DG DPCO for some three years and 10 months.

After winning July 25 elections, it is now the prerogative of the PTI-led government to fill this post with nominee of its own. The DPCO is responsible to present debt and fiscal statements every year to the Parliament, so as to apprise it of the latest measures to manage public debt.It works under the guidelines established by the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act. Amended by the last PML-N government, it envisages the reduction of total public debt by 0.5 percent a year from financial year 2018-19 to 2023-24, rising to 0.75 percent a year up to 2032-33, so as to bring down the total public debt to 50 percent or less of the gross domestic product (GDP). At the end of 2017-18, the public debt-to-GDP ratio exceeded 86 percent of GDP, requiring the new PTI-led government to take redefining steps in the weeks and months ahead.


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