Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities have peaked at a record-high $122bn which was recorded towards the end of the last fiscal year (FY21). The National Standing Committee on Economic Affairs was communicated on Tuesday that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government has borrowed $26bn of external debt in the span of three years.

Mir Khan Muhammad Jamali chaired the meeting. Additional Secretary for Economic Affairs Zulfiqar Haider told the committee that the external debt and liabilities (EDL) were recorded to be at $96 billion as of June 30, 2018, which has now risen by an additional $26 billion under the incumbent government.

He further added that Pakistan has an obligation to repay $3.785 billion to Paris Club under a soon approaching deadline, however, the Paris Club decided to relax the deadline and granted an extension taking into consideration the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies.

While the panel discussed the repercussions of currency depreciation, PML-N’s Ayesha Ghaus Pasha commented that the dollar rate would increase up to Rs174 as a result of an agreement between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

MNA Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh noted that the value of the dollar has risen by Rs50 from the time the extension was announced, which puts Pakistan into an even worse situation as the exchange rate continues to spiral down.

Secretary of economic affairs Asad Hayauddin informed the committee that Pakistan has borrowed an additional $22.37 billion from international financial institutions for the funding of 124 projects.

The Economic Affairs Division had made arrangements to get a $4.1 billion loan during the pandemic and procured vaccines worth $653 million.

The secretary emphasized that the details revolving around the various loans are of a sensitive nature and should be discussed in an in-camera session. Jamali called for an in-camera session on the matter.


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