ISLAMABAD: Vice President Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Senator Sherry Rehman Tuesday voiced dismay over the country’s alarming debt accumulation under this government and its refusal to hold itself accountable.
The Senator said, ‘This is not the way democratic institutions work, neither with transparency or economic prudence. Reports reveal that Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities have reached Rs22.5 trillion by the end of the last fiscal year. This figure shows a net increase of Rs2.6 trillion in one year.’
‘Economic forecasts and reports all point towards Pakistan’s dangerous downward economic spiral which suggests that we are headed towards an economic catastrophe if the problems are not mitigated as soon as possible,’ continued Rehman.
The Senator further added, ‘Pakistan has been borrowing around Rs2 trillion annually. This is not a sustainable practice particularly so when the government’s total domestic and foreign borrowings have already amounted to a staggering $55 billion.’
‘The PM spent millions for his latest London trip while his government’s ruinous economic policies only continue to pile up the country’s debt. How can this government explain this to the average Pakistani who earns Rs12, 000 per month? They will lose confidence in democracy and only see it as extractive,’ stressed the PPPP Vice-President.
The Senator also expressed her concern over the government’s economic policies that puts extra financial burden on the public, ‘Recently, the ECC extended the power sector debt for two more years. As a result, consumers would end up paying for the interests which will continue to reflect on their electricity bills. In 2015-2016 they have already collected Rs. 29.3 billion from the consumers.’
Rehman pointed out, ‘This government takes pride in its supposed expertise in economic management but in the past three years, the country’s external debt rose by 27%, our exports declined by 35%, FDI is down by 53% in July to August compared to last year and the rate of debt increased by approximately 37.5%.’
‘Falling exports, FDI, remittances, circular debt in key industries and the piling up of debt, both foreign and domestic have been persistent economic issues with serious repercussions. Instead of finding practical and sustainable solutions, the government has been draining the government’s coffers for exorbitant trips abroad and band-aid remedies,’ she reiterated.
The Senator concluded, ‘This is not macroeconomic stability. This is mortgaging Pakistan’s future to pay for the luxury of government elites.’ NNI