KARACHI: The country’s total debt and liabilities increased by Rs11.85 trillion in FY22, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday.

The data, related to the domestic and external debts and liabilities, shows that Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities reached Rs59.696tr by June 30, compared to Rs47.844tr in FY21.

According to the SBP, the year-on-year growth in debt and liabilities was 24.8 per cent in FY22, compared to a growth of just 7.3pc in FY21.

The data also reveals that the total debt and liabilities as a percentage of GDP in FY22 was 89.2pc compared to 85.7pc in FY21.

Similarly, the total debt and liability servicing rose to Rs5.548 trillion in FY22 compared to Rs4.567tr in FY21. It increased by 21.6pc in FY22, compared to 2.5pc in FY21.

However, total debt and liability servicing remained unchanged as a percentage of GDP in the last two fiscal years, at 8.2pc in FY21 and FY22.

The central government’s gross domestic debt (without external debt) was Rs31.036tr by June 30, FY22, against Rs26.265tr by the end of June FY21.

Pakistan’s gross external debt reached $130.192 billion in FY22 compared to $122.292bn in FY21; it increased by $7.9bn.

However, the general government’s external debt rose to $86.134bn in FY22 compared to $82.5bn in FY21.

Pakistan had to pay $15.071bn as external debt servicing in FY22, compared to $13.424bn in the previous fiscal year. The bifurcation shows that Pakistan paid $12.093bn as principal amount and $2.978bn as interest. The interest accounted for about 25pc of the principal.

The $15bn debt service is close to the amount of the current account deficit in FY22, which was $17.4bn. The current account deficit was much higher than the SBP’s foreign exchange reserves, which badly hit the exchange rate and the dollar rose to an all-time high of Rs239.5. Pakistan is struggling to come out of the current account deficit, for which the government has drastically reduced imports. However, the massive import cuts slashed the economy and would result in large job cuts in the industrial sector.

Public Sector Enterprise debt was slightly reduced during FY22. According to the data, PIA is the biggest debt owner in FY22 with Rs182bn compared to Rs153.3bn in FY21. Wapda was the second biggest debtor, with Rs72.5bn in FY22.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2022

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