Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry estimated on Tuesday that the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will pay $55 billion in foreign debt payments during its five-year tenure that ends in 2023.
The minister drew a comparison with $27 billion paid during the preceding Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in its five-year tenure in a tweet, adding that $12.27 billion would be paid during the current fiscal year, with another $12.5 billion in FY23.
“Foreign debt payment this year (FY22) alone is $12.27 billion and about same $12.5 billion in FY23,” said the federal minister.
The statement comes as Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities reached $127 billion by the end of September 2021.
External debt, liabilities hit $127bn mark by Sept-end
As per the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) data, Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities registered an increase of $4.85 billion during the first quarter of this fiscal year (FY21). The country’s total external debt and liabilities rose to $127.023 billion by end-September 2021 compared to $122.209 billion by June 2021.
However, as percentage of GDP, total external debt and liabilities were almost flat at 40.2% in Sept 2021. Official foreign exchange reserves increased from $17.441 billion to $19.374 billion during July-Sept of FY22.
The total stocks of debt and liabilities comprise Paris Club, the IMF loan, foreign exchange liabilities, Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) guaranteed debt and non-guaranteed debt, banks borrowing, non-residential deposits, private sector guaranteed/non-guaranteed debt and foreign exchange and debt liabilities to direct investors.
Pakistan’s economy continues to remain under enormous pressure amid a rising current account deficit, which comes on the back of growing imports, while remittances post a decline.
November: Pakistan's current account deficit widens further to $1.91bn
On Monday, data released by the central bank showed Pakistan's current account deficit widened further to $1.91 billion in November 2021, up from $1.76 billion in October, and a complete turnaround from November 2020 when it posted a surplus of $563 million.
This story was first published in Business Recorder on Dec 21, 2021.