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Govt urged to utilise external loans to boost economic growth, exports

By Our Correspondent
December 06, 2022

LAHORE:Trade union leaders from public sector corporations urged the government to acquire and utilize external loans only to boost the country's economic growth and exports.

According to a press release issued on Monday, speakers, at a workshop organised in Lahore by the Public Sector International (PSI), said the countrty’s economic outlook, social indicators and human rights record depicted that external debt had not significantly contributed in socio-economic development, improving public service delivery or in achieving respect for people's rights. They stressed the need to revisit the country's strategy to seek and utilise external debt in future.

The speakers demanded that international donors and lenders ensure that new loans to Pakistan do not affect capacities to perform human rights obligations; refrain from financing projects involving infringement of human rights; avoid linking policy measures to loans and debt relief; suspend debt repayment in circumstances beyond borrower's control.

They advised the government to make loans as part of the economic growth strategy. They suggested the government to undertake human rights impact assessment before and after determining reforms to borrower states; ensure that the terms of transactions and proposals do not undermine the borrower/recipient State’s ability to respect, protect and fulfil its human rights obligations.

They pointed out that like many other developing countries, Pakistan’s debt overburdening, repayment, inappropriate use of debt and creditors’ conditions (such as austerity drive, privatisation and retrogressive economic reforms) are posing challenges to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as respect for people’s rights.

They asked the creditors to ensure debt sustainability assessment and transparent periodic debt audits concerning the impact of debt on the achievement of human rights and development goals. Furthermore, creditors should establish an independent international debt workout mechanism. The speakers proposed a list of measures to ensure conformity of reform policies with the human rights obligations of states.