$96.7 Bln external debt, liabilities should be cause of concern for policy makers: ICCI

ISLAMABAD, Dec 5 (INP): Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has shown great concerns over the rising external debt and liabilities of Pakistan that have reached $96.7 billion by the September 2018 and called upon the government to take urgent measures to cope with this problem. He said the rising debt would constrain economic growth of the country and put more burden on the common man as the country would have to divert more financial resources towards debt servicing.

He said that Pakistan’s debt liabilities have been increasing constantly for the last many decades due to which the cost of rising debt servicing was taking a heavy toll on the overall economy while development and public welfare projects were suffering. He called upon the government to devise an out of the box strategy in consultation with private sector to rid the country of the trend of heavy borrowings.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that since 2010 to 2018, Pakistan has witnessed about 200 percent increase in its total debt and liabilities as in 2010, Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities were around Rs.10 trillion which have escalated to over Rs.30 trillion by September 2018. He said the rising debt servicing was consuming lot of financial resources and the country was unable to deal with burning issues of poverty and rising unemployment.

He said that debt servicing was consuming 41.8 percent of current expenditure of the country in 2012-13 which has gone up to 46.4 percent in 2017-18. This situation was leaving nominal financial resources for health, education and social sectors due to which common man was badly suffering. He stressed that the government should create a conducive environment for the private sector to promote trade and exports so that the country could generate its own resources and get rid of rising debt problem.

Rafat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry stressed that instead of relying on traditional markets for exports, government should fully cooperate with the private sector to explore new exports markets. They said that government should sponsor private sector delegations to Africa, Central Asia and other non-traditional markets that would help in improving exports, reducing trade deficit and getting rid of heavy borrowings.

INP/AJ