Alarming increase in Pakistan’s public debt makes legislators worry

By Our Staff Reporter

Islamabad: PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman has expressed grave concerns on the alarming and unchecked increase in Pakistan’s public debt.

“Earlier this week, the PTI government was doing the media rounds to paint a distorted picture of robust economic fundamentals, yet on the ground people were faced with a crippling reality of soaring inflation putting pressure on meeting daily expenses. At the same time public debt soared to Rs 39.9 trillion with an increase of Rs 15 trillion in the last three years, exceeding the FRDL Act of 2005 limit which is set to 60% of the GDP – while as it stands the current debt makes up for a whopping 84% of the GDP.”

“After leaving the economy on the ventilator, the PTI government is further planning to borrow a whopping $16 billion to run the country. With a firm denial of parliamentary oversight on foreign loans, there is no check on either borrowing or spending. This is the same government which vowed not to borrow to run the country but to instead return all loans,” added the Senator.

Addressing the overall economic performance of the country she said, “The public debt is one of the many indicators of this government’s failing policies. With inflation at an all-time high, price hikes in electricity, gas and oil; compounded with 68% of Pakistani’s living under food insecurity, the living standards of the people of this nation are falling fast under this Government.” 

“Last fiscal year, the PTI government omitted key statistics in the debt report to hide incompetence and serial mismanagement. Information on external debt and liabilities were nowhere to be seen. How long will this government present dubious statistics to mislead the nation?” questioned the Senator.

She added, “Pakistan’s food import bill is not any different – soaring by a massive 53% due to record-breaking sugar and wheat imports this year. With rising food imports, our trade deficit touched a massive $3 billion just for the month of July. This will have a devastating impact on the livelihood of countless farmers across the country.”

The senator concluded by saying, “PTI’s governance has fallen short of every single promise, with unemployment, inflation, food insecurity and poverty on the rise, all signs point towards a collapsing economy. Instead of waging media wars and propagating false narratives, the PTI government should focus on a number of key issues that are changing and imperilling the daily lives of large swathes of people of this country.

They are unable to forge unity or consensus in parliament for vital issues, which is seen as a signal failure of any government. In other countries governments seek to heal divisions and bridge over polarities. Here, sadly the government’s project seems to be a deepening of binaries, with its head in the sand over the damage being done to Pakistan’s social and economic fabric by the deep embrace of confrontational politics and a refusal to invest political capital in governance. “

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