Public debt piled up in past govts: Dar tells NA

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Finance Minister grieved over death of Amjad Sabri

ISLAMABAD, June 18 (APP); Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq
Dar Saturday said public debt had been piled up during previous
governments.

Responding to queries of members of the National Assembly
about charged expenditures, the minister said the present Pakistan
Muslim League Nawaz (PML N) government had brought down fiscal
deficit from 8.8 per cent to 4.3 per cent of the gross domestic
product (GDP) during the last three years.

He said the process getting loans started in 1947. The
debts stood at Rs 3,000 billion till June 30, 1999, reached
Rs 5,800 billion in the Musharraf regime and further increased
to Rs 14,318 billion in the Pakistan People’s Party last tenure.

He said the PML N government would bring the debt to GDP ratio
to 60 per cent by 2018, which would be further reduced to 50
per cent in next 15 years.

He said the size of Public Sector Development Programme
(PSDP) and social safety net had been doubled while a huge amount was being spent on Operation Zarb e Azb.

About expenditures of the President, the minister said the
President represented the country at international forums and
the government had to allocate funds for fulfilling his
responsibilities.

He claimed that the amount spent on the Presidency now was
far lower than that by the previous governments.

He said soon after assuming the power, the government had
stopped secret funds to 32 institutions out of 34. Only the
ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) and IB (Intelligence Bureau)
were provided secret funds, but there was a mechanism to audit
these funds, he added.

He said the Foreign Office was well aware and conscious
whatever was happening around. The Turkham firing was
not a good omen. The Prime Minister had called Advisor Tariq
Fatimi to London to discuss the issues, he added.

He said this year three out of four provinces had deficit
budget and they should concentrate on their capacity as after their
devolution under the 18th Amendment they did not properly
spend the amount they got from the federal divisible pool. But he
added the government should focus on the federal deficit.

He said for the first time in the country’s history, the
government had approved 62 per cent of the recommendations forwarded by the Senate for incorporation in the Finance Bill 2016 17.

To the questions related to interest or mark up on debt, the
Finance Minister said the debt servicing had direct relevance
with loans.”When you take debt you have to pay mark up.”

He said Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC)
would be operational from the beginning of next fiscal year to
cater to demands of 25 million people who need microfinance.
The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and Germany’s
Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) have already signed an
agreement in this regard, he added.

In July the company would be operationalize and it would have
big base and professional capacity, he said.