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PR Short Notes


Photo Source: The Express Tribune

Pakistan Reader# 673, 6 October 2023

Pakistan's debt reached PKR 64 trillion



There has been a sharp decline in the value of Pakistani currency against the dollar as it stands at PKR 305.6 against one dollar presently.

Femy Francis

On 6 October, the State Bank of Pakistan released a report stating the government’s debt has hiked to PKR 64 trillion a PKR 14.5 trillion increase estimating a 29.2 per cent rise within just one year. The rising debt and the fiscal loss incurred have exposed the country to various vulnerabilities as heightened by a report by the World Bank. Within the past two years the country has seen a mounting budget deficit and the World Bank expressed their concerns that their shortcoming in reaching the budget has led to the accumulation of debts, scaring away potential private investments. The SBP reported that there has been a volatile increase in external debt reaching PKR 24.2 trillion a 39 per cent hike. This hike in external debt was attributed to the devaluation of the Pakistani currency. It is estimated that PKR 17.4 trillion external debts stand since 2022, excluding IMF liabilities.

There has been a sharp decline in the value of Pakistani currency against the dollar as it stands at PKR 305.6 against one dollar presently. The currency marked a devaluation of 40 per cent in just one year. While the recent efforts to curb smuggling and hoarding by the army have led to some recovery in the value of PKR. The World Bank estimates that of all the public debts of Pakistan, external debt accounts for 40.9 per cent and short-term debt accounts for 13. 7 per cent.

The rising domestic debt creates concerns as it absorbs most of the tax revenue and in turn, reduces funds for the development and economic growth needs. A major chunk of the revenue now is used to pay for services that are releasing interest payments and debt.  While the government had been consistently paying off debts there has been a dip or rather an absence of inflows and funds since the IMF loan and funding by UAE and Saudi Arabia.

References
Shahbaz Rana, “Government debt soars to Rs64 trillion,” The Express Tribune, 6 October 2023
Shahid Iqbal, “Weak rupee drives up external debt,” Dawn, 6 October 2023

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