Govt’s Direct Borrowing is $7.8 Billion, Not $17.6 Billion, Finance Ministry Clarifies

The direct borrowing for financing, the government’s fiscal deficit amounted to $7.8 billion from June 30, 2018, to June 30, 2020, said a Ministry of Finance spokesperson. This was given as a clarification on the total borrowing of $17.6 billion previously highlighted in the news reports.

The spokesperson insisted, “The figure needs to be properly interpreted for a better understanding,” he said in a statement.

Out of the total net increase in borrowing, $4.8 billion (27 percent) was done on account of SBP’s foreign exchange liabilities, which excludes it from direct government borrowing, he explained.

These external debt and liabilities consist of external public debt, public sector entities’ (PSE) debt, foreign exchange liabilities of SBP, and the private sector’s external debt. The government borrowed $7.8 billion (44 percent of the increase) for the financing of its fiscal deficit.

The total increase in the government’s borrowings amounted to $17.6 billion, while 44 percent of it went towards the financing of fiscal deficit. “This amount was the actual borrowing of the present government during its first two years,” the spokesperson said, adding, “These additional borrowings were from multilateral and bilateral development partners whereas the portion of loans from commercial sources was repaid.”

The private sector borrowed $2.9 billion from external sources, “Which is a healthy sign indicating the private sector’s capacity to borrow from abroad for domestic investments,” the spokesman said. Further explaining this amount, he said that private sector enterprises (PSEs) had borrowed $2.2 billion for spending on their financing needs mostly related to development expenditure.

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