Total public debt stands at $51.3 billion: Ishaq Dar
Minister for Finance, Senator Ishaq Dar on Saturday said the total public external debt as of November 30, 2015 stood at $51.31 billion whereas by September 30, these were recorded at $48.13 billion thus showing an increase of $3.2 billion in two years of the current government.
"Under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, the current government has so far received $5.2 billion out of which it paid back $4.42 billion as debt received by the previous governments", he said while addressing a press conference here. He said the total debt of the country increased from Rs 14,400 billion by September 30, 2013 to Rs 18,224 billion by November 30, 2015. He clarified that the government's debt were not agreed on higher rates as the average cost of total debts remained only 3.3 percent.
Dar said the country was now moving towards right direction and the Pakistan Muslim League (N) government had succeeded in bringing number of reforms in the national economy which was suffering at the time when it took over the charge. "The country's revenue has witnessed a very good progress during first six months of current fiscal year (2015-16), the revenue collection increased by 18.6 percent to Rs 1385 billion as compared to same period of previous year", added the minister. He said the IMF had also expressed satisfaction over achieving the revenue collection target. He informed that during first quarter of current fiscal year, the government could not achieve the revenue tar- get of Rs 640 billion and there was a shortfall of Rs 40 billion while in the second quarter, it surpassed the target of Rs 750 billion as it achieved Rs 785 billion during the period.
Earlier, Patchamuthu Illangovan, called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Saturday and felicitated him on successful conclusion of the 10th IMF review. Sharing details regarding arrangements for the visit of World Bank President with Mr. Illangovan, the minister also discussed areas that were likely to come up for discussion during the visit, said a ministry statement. The World Bank Country Director said efforts for promoting foreign investment in Pakistan and development of health and education sectors would receive particular attention of the visiting dignitary.
"Aiming high for a prosperous Pakistan" was the World Bank's outlook for the country, he said. It was in that spirit that visit of President Jim Yong Kim to Pakistan was taking place, Illangovan remarked. Minister Dar and the World Bank Country Director also discussed matters relating to the DPC-III on growth. The minister appreciated the continuous cooperation that the World Bank was extending for various projects in Pakistan. He hoped that with the visit of World Bank President, this cooperation would be further strengthened. Mr Illongovan thanked the minister for the arrangements being made for the visit of World Bank President, who was due to arrive in Islamabad on Feb 9. Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Division attended the meeting.
The government has made no commitments with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase gas tariff or to recover power sector's circular debt from consumers through electricity bills, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said. "There is no truth in reports that we have made any such promise," he told a press conference, referring to statements from political parties that the government, during recent talks with the IMF in Dubai, had promised to increase gas tariff and recover circular debt from consumers.
"My economic team is witness to all negotiations in Dubai," said Dar, flanked by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Nisar Mohammad Khan and representatives of traders. On the next National Finance Commission ( NFC) award, the minister hinted that the 7th NFC may continue for another year as well. However, the name of private member of Punjab was sent to the president for approval, he said.
Answering a question, he said the centre was not going to increase the ratio of funds to the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for war on terror from existing one per cent to 5pc under the next NFC award. On the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the minister said that his government increased the fleet from 16 to 38 and improved the airline's flight operations to 80pc. He also dispelled any doubts that 8,000 employees of the company would be laid off, adding: "We want to improve PIA's performance through better management."