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August 30, 2019

Govt adds Rs46,000 debt burden on each Pakistani in one year

Top Story

August 30, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Breaking all previous records of adding debt burden, the PTI government during the first year of its rule has increased an additional debt of almost Rs46,000 on each Pakistan.

From 1947 till June 2018, successive governments of last seventy years had burdened each Pakistani with the total debt of almost Rs136,000. This figure, during the last fiscal year July 2018 to June 2019, has now jumped to around Rs182,000 i.e. an addition of almost Rs46,000 in a year.

Contrary to its past rhetoric, the PTI government is adding up in the public debt stock more than what the last PML-N and PPP government had collectively added during their tenures. Latest State Band of Pakistan (SBP) figures show that Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities skyrocketed to Rs40,214 billion till end March 2019. During the last fiscal year, the total debt and liabilities went up by over Rs10 trillion (Rs10,000 billion) increasing from Rs29,879 billion in June 2018 to Rs40,214 billion till end March 2019. The total debt and liabilities in percentage of GDP have touched 104.3 percent.

Pakistan’s debt burden is on a fast track alarming increase like never before and it is feared that if this trend is not checked, the debt figure may add up during five years of the incumbent government more than double to the accumulated total borrowing of the last seventy years.

The PTI had been referring to the figure of Rs30,000 billion debt which had reached this level in June 2018 from Rs6,691 billion in 2007. The party is of the view that this phenomenal and alarming raise in debt from Rs6,691 billion in 2007 to Rs30,000 in June 2018 is the consequence of alleged corruption by the last PML-N and PPP governments, which ruled the country during this period.

The government has also set up a commission led by NAB Deputy Chairman Husain Asghar to probe how this debt had increased during the PPP and PML-N governments and if the money was pocketed or duly utilised for projects of people’s interest.

The SBP latest figures, however, show that the PTI government itself broke all previous records of borrowing, and has made phenomenal increase in the debt burden. The figure of Rs29,879 billion in June 2018 has shot up to Rs40,214 billion till end March 2019. It means in just one year an increase of over Rs10,000 billion. If this debt keeps on increasing with the same pace, five years later when the PTI government will be completing its tenure, there will be a total addition of at least Rs50,000 billion taking the total Rs80,000 billion debt.

With the increase in the debt, burden on each Pakistani has increased by almost Rs46,000 during the first six months of the current fiscal year. When the PML-N government left, debt burden on each Pakistani was around Rs136,000 (till June 2018) which during the last fiscal has crossed the figure of Rs181,000.

The SBP figures relating to the total public debts and liabilities by end June 2013 were Rs16,228 billion. Each Pakistani till September 2013 was burdened with the debt and liabilities of Rs96,422. When the PML-N government left, it reached almost Rs136,000 but after 12 months’ time, it has flown to Rs181,000.

In early 2008 when country’s total debt and liabilities were Rs6,691 billion, each Pakistani was burdened with Rs37,172 debt. However, government circles, which deal with financial matters, said that it was not the fault of the current set-up, adding that all the mess was created by the previous government. They said that the last government showed false figures to show that the economy was booming, and the dollar rate was also kept low by artificially keeping the value of rupee at a higher side.

They said that the current government had to do things to correct the past wrongs, adding that now transparency is being kept in all the official working, including that of the Finance and Revenue ministries.