Country’s public debt projected to increase by 47 percent in five years

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ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday projected the country’s total public debt to increase by 47 percent in five years to Rs45.57 trillion from Rs31 trillion at the end of FY19.

In its Public Debt Management Plan for FY20-24, the Ministry of Finance also estimated the total external debt increasing by 80pc to Rs18.77tr in FY24 from Rs10.446tr at present.

The finance ministry presented the document before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance chaired by Asad Umar. “The projections tabled by the finance division were fully endorsed by the IMF (International Monetary Fund),” said an official of the finance ministry according to news reports.

On the other hand, the plan estimates the total domestic debt to increase by over 30 percent to reach Rs26.8tr by FY24 from Rs20.57tr at the end of FY19.

The finance ministry’s document showed that it would take five years for total public debt to reach near the limit of 60 percent of GDP set under the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act 2005. Total public debt-to-GDP ratio is projected at 79.4 percent in FY2020. This would fall at 76.8 percent in FY2021, 73.5 percent in FY2022, 70.1 percent in FY2023 and 66.5 percent in FY2024.

The committee postponed discussions on the debt management plan because it was placed on the table during the meeting against the rules that require circulation of agenda items and working papers to the members of the committee at least three days before the meeting.

The committee members and the chairman agreed to postpone the agenda to a future meeting possibly next week for informed discussions and recommendations.

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