ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) central leader and former finance minister, Miftah Ismail, on Wednesday termed the PTI government’s economic performance as a “total disaster, where the government has added thousands of billions of debt while paying back not a single penny of the debt”.
In a video message released here, he alleged the PTI government is only raising expenses, deficit and debt on the country in the “worst manner imaginable”.
He pointed out that the government took the loan from Rs25,000 billion to Rs36,000 billion in two years but the tax revenue was stuck at the same point in real terms.
He said the PTI government increased debt but totally failed to increase the country’s tax capacity.
He said that the PTI government’s drastic cut to the development budget resulted in zero infrastructural development, no new plans, and zero relief to the nation.
In two and a half years, the PTI has plunged the country into a quagmire of debt and this government’s claim of borrowing to repay the loan is “a complete lie”. They only re-roll the loan.
Instead of repaying the loan, the PTI gave the bond in exchange for the bond that is, giving a new date for repaying the loan.
Imran Khan did not repay the loan to Saudi Arabia out of his own pocket but from China, he added.
“When the PML-N came to power in 2013, it had a debt of Rs14,000 billion. This total debt included both external and internal debt. One month after the departure of the PML-N government, the total debt was Rs24,952.9 billion or about 25,000 billion. The PML-N borrowed a total of Rs10,600 billion in five years. With this borrowed amount PML-N carried out numerous other development works including power plants. Whereas, the PTI borrowed more than Rs11,400 billion in the first two years alone without a single development project,” he said.
He reminded that during the PML-N era, external debt and liabilities were Rs11,575 billion while under the PTI regime, they had reached Rs18,969 billion in just two years, showing a loss of Rs7,500 billion.
He also compared the fact that during the PML-N era the loan was around $70 billion, which under the PTI is now $80 billion.
The former finance minister said the PTI government had increased Pakistan’s debt by 40 percent in just two years.
This, he said, means that the PTI alone took almost the same amount of loan that all the previous governments took collectively over the past 75 years.
He warned that if the government’s borrowing rate remains the same, the country already in crisis will face even more grave problems.
“The debt was 65 percent of GDP when PML-N came to power and 72 percent on completion of its tenure. But during the PTI tenure, the debt-to-GDP ratio has risen to a staggering 85 percent, with the debt increased by 15 percent in just two years. During the PML-N era, the debt was increasing at two percent per annum; PTI is increasing at a rapid rate of eight percent which is a 400 percent increase,” he said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021