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KARACHI: The federal government has borrowed over Rs 1 trillion for budgetary support from scheduled banks during current fiscal year (FY21) to finance the fiscal deficit.

The country’s fiscal deficit stood at Rs1.138 trillion and as percentage of GDP, it stood at 2.5 percent in first half (July-December) of this fiscal year.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the government borrowing for budgetary support has gone up by Rs 176 billion to Rs 1.037 trillion during July 1, 2020 to Feb 19, 2021 against Rs 861 billion in the same period of last fiscal year (FY20). However, the federal government borrowing for budgetary support from the SBP remained negative due to massive repayments. During the period under review, the federal government retired some Rs 473 billion to the SBP.

Cumulatively, the borrowing for budgetary support from the domestic banking system was Rs 199 billion during July 1, 2020 to Feb 19, 2021 up from Rs 62 billion in the same period of last fiscal year (FY20). After the current upsurge overall stocks of government budgetary borrowing from banking system reached Rs 13.947 trillion mark in Feb 2021 up from Rs 13.748 trillion on June 30, 2020.

All four provinces make repayments instead of borrowing from the SBP and cumulatively retired some Rs 311 billion to the State Bank. Government of Balochistan retired Rs 45 billion, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa some Rs 32 billion, Punjab government Rs 194 billion and government of Sindh has repaid some Rs 39.6 billion to SBP during July 1, 2020 to Feb 19, 2021.

It may be mentioned here that borrowing from scheduled banks is mainly through fortnightly auction of 3, 6 and 12-month Market Treasury Bills (MTBs), monthly auction of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30-year fixed rate Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs), fortnightly auctions of 3, 5, 10-year floating rate PIBs, Sukuk and Bai Muajjal of Sukuk (on deferred payment basis). However, provincial governments are not allowed to borrow from scheduled banks.

While, provincial governments and the Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) may also borrow directly from the SBP by raising their debtor balances (overdrafts) within limits defined for them.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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