KARACHI: The total debt of the central government increased 34.1 per cent year-on-year to Rs58.6 trillion at the end of April, latest statistics released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) showed on Monday.
The increase was 2.6pc on a month-on-month basis.
The domestic debt amounted to Rs36.5tr (62.3pc) while the external debt accounted for a 37.6pc share with Rs22tr at the end of April.
On an annual basis, the increase in external debt remained 49.1pc, data showed. There was no change in the external debt figure from a month ago.
Within the domestic debt, the largest share was of the federal government bonds that represented almost Rs25tr worth of loans. Other major contributors to the domestic debt were short-term loans (Rs7.2tr) and unfunded debt (Rs2.9tr) that included money borrowed through National Savings Schemes.
Funds obtained through federal government bonds rose 31.6pc from a year ago while the increase in the stock of short-term loans remained 29.4pc.
On the one hand, Pakistan is battling a prolonged balance-of-payments crisis, with foreign exchange reserves covering for only a month’s import bill.
On the other hand, domestic debt servicing is becoming a huge challenge for the country given that interest rate has climbed to an unprecedented level amid record-high inflation.
According to Topline Securities CEO Mohammed Sohail, the mark-up expense in 2023-24 will alone be more than the federal budget of 2020-21.
“Interest on loans, mainly local debt, has more than doubled in two years,” he said, adding that the growing burden is preventing the government from spending on health, education and infrastructure.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2023