Govt borrowed $9.6 billion in 10 months

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has borrowed $9.6 billion from external sources only in ten months of the current fiscal year increasing the overall debt of the country that has already surged to $91.8 billion.

Pakistan has received $1.6 billion in new foreign loans during the month of April only, as major part of the borrowing $1.2 billion was through the commercial banks. The government has already breached the limit of annual foreign borrowing of $8 billion, as the borrowing recorded at $9.6 billion in ten months (July to April) of the 2017-18.

Keeping in view the current trend, the government is all set to break the previous year's record of borrowing around $10 billion in a single year.

Last year, the government had borrowed $10.2 billion from external sources as against the target of $8 billion.

The government has borrowed massively due to the repayment of previous loans and financing the current account deficit. The country's foreign exchange reserves are depleting. "In the absence of sufficient projected financial flows, a portion of this higher current account deficit was managed by using country's own resources during FY18. Consequently, SBP's liquid FX reserves saw a net reduction of $5.8 billion to reach $10.3 billion as of 18th May 2018," the State Bank of Pakistan noted in its monetary policy.

Pakistan's overall external debt and liabilities had increased to a record $91.8 billion. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had recently estimated Pakistan's external debt and liabilities could peak to $144 billion in the next five years from $93 billion in the current financial year of 2018.

According to the official data, the government of Pakistan had borrowed $9.6 billion in ten months of FY2018. The break-up of $9.6 billion borrowing during July-April of 2017-18 showed that government had raised $2.5 billion from the auction of Euro and Sukuk bonds in international market.

Pakistan in November had successfully executed $1.0 billion five years Sukuk and $1.5 billion ten years Eurobond transactions at profit rates of 5.625 percent and 6.875 percent respectively.

Another major part of the borrowing of $7.91 billion was from the commercial banks that recorded at $2.92 billion during ten months of the current fiscal year. The government had projected only $1 billion borrowing from the commercial banks during the entire ongoing financial year. However, the government had gone beyond the limit in just ten months to sustain its foreign exchange reserves.

The government is in negotiations with some other foreign banks and expected to sign more agreements in coming months to procure more commercial loans for budgetary support.

According to official documents, the break-up of loans received showed that the Asian Development Bank provided $681.46 million, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development $173.62 million, the International Development Association of the World Bank $252.77 million and the Islamic Development Bank gave $987.22 million (short-term loan for July-March period for crude oil import). Pakistan also took $169.85 million from the United Kingdom during the period under review. China gave a loan of $1.5 billion to Pakistan.

The USA released $88.11 million in the current fiscal year 2017-18 against the estimates of $117.56 million. The government received no assistance from Italy, Korea, Norway, and UNDP during the first ten months of the current fiscal year (2017-18).


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