Debt servicing balloons by 11pc in July-Nov

Published January 28, 2018
The stock of domestic debt as a percentage of GDP was 46.6pc at the end of 2016-17 as opposed to 46.8pc a year ago. Total debt stocks rose to Rs15.76tr at the end of November 2017.
The stock of domestic debt as a percentage of GDP was 46.6pc at the end of 2016-17 as opposed to 46.8pc a year ago. Total debt stocks rose to Rs15.76tr at the end of November 2017.

KARACHI: The government paid Rs598 billion in domestic debt servicing in July-November 2017, registering a year-on-year growth of 11 per cent, according to the Monetary Policy Information Compendium that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) issued on Jan 26.

Growing debt servicing is a sign of increasing debt stocks as the government relies heavily on borrowing for budgetary support and development expenditure.

In the latest monetary policy statement, the SBP said the fiscal deficit for July-December is expected to be around the last year’s level of 2.5pc, indicating the gap would be within the target.

However, the increase in debt servicing can widen the fiscal deficit. Five-month debt servicing is about 60pc of development expenditures whose target for 2017-18 is a little over Rs1 trillion.

The report said debt servicing was 30.4pc of tax revenue in the last fiscal year.

It said domestic debt increased by Rs917bn in July-November compared to Rs652bn in the same period of the preceding fiscal year. Total debt stocks rose to Rs15.76tr at the end of November.

The Federal Board of Revenue collected Rs1.3tr in taxes in July-November, up 20pc from a year ago.

Funds for domestic debt servicing are raised through borrowing from banks and the central bank. This further increases the burden of debt servicing each year.

In 2016-17, the government had to pay Rs1.2tr in domestic debt servicing, which was more than development as well as defence expenditures.

The government usually slashes development expenditures to keep the fiscal deficit within the target while debt servicing takes away the largest share from revenues.

The five-month trend suggests that debt servicing for 2017-18 will be around Rs1.4tr, which is large enough to make the government miss its annual fiscal deficit target.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

Khorasani’s killing
11 Aug, 2022

Khorasani’s killing

OMAR Khalid Khorasani, a dreaded TTP ‘commander’, lived by the sword and very much died by the sword. But beyond...
Gross overreaction
Updated 11 Aug, 2022

Gross overreaction

The government has already done considerable damage to itself with its indelicate handling of the situation.
Dadu deaths
11 Aug, 2022

Dadu deaths

DISEASES that are usually mild and preventable in countries with developed healthcare systems often prove to be...
Beyond the pale
Updated 09 Aug, 2022

Beyond the pale

When such ugliness is unleashed, everyone at some point suffers the fallout.
Burying Gaza
Updated 10 Aug, 2022

Burying Gaza

One fails to understand how the senseless killing of a child can be brushed so coldly under the carpet.
Celebrate the athlete
09 Aug, 2022

Celebrate the athlete

TALK about delivering on your promise: javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem did that in the grandest style at the...