LAHORE: At the end of June 2024, debt stock of the Punjab government may stand at Rs. 1,685 billion, out of which Rs. 1,683 billion is from external lenders, while Rs. 1.7 billion from domestic sources.

Collectively, these loans represent 2.9% of Punjab’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

The government debt constitutes outstanding principal amount of financial liabilities of the Punjab Government which require payment of interest.

Q2FY24 Punjab govt’s debt stock declines modestly

It may be noted that the government borrowing remains vital part of financing mechanism for developing countries and sub-national governments. These borrowings complement the available funding to support resource-intensive infrastructure projects aimed at fostering economic growth and assist in expediting social development goals.

As per budget document, the Government Debt excludes the debt of Public corporations controlled by Government of Punjab. Punjab’s overall debt comprises two major components, ie, Domestic debt and External debt.

Domestic debt constitutes borrowing from the Federal Government, whereas External debt encompasses predominantly concessional long-term foreign currency loans obtained from multilateral and bilateral creditors.

Domestic debt constitutes borrowing from the Federal Government primarily taken for agriculture programs, on fixed interest rates with original maturity of 25 years.

These loans have been mostly repaid and only a small portion is outstanding. On the other hand, the Government’s External Debt primarily consists of concessional, long-term loans in foreign currency, acquired from various multilateral creditors like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Domestic debt amount is exclusive of outstanding commodity/wheat debt obtained by Food Department for procurement of wheat secured against wheat stock and guarantee of the Federal Government

Moreover, Provincial Information Minister Azma Bokhari while talking to the media said that a health program worth Rs one billion has been started for the journalists. An official wage has been increased to Rs 37 thousand while a special program has been launched for the farmers.

Regarding the Defamation Bill, she said that the actual journalist will not be affected due to this bill. Those who earn dollars and commit defamation will be affected by it. “Holding a protest is a constitutional right of the journalist community. Now the case is sub judice, we should wait for the court’s verdict on it,” she said.

President Lahore Press Club Arshad Ansari said that he expresses his gratitude to the Information Minister Punjab Azma Bokhari for voicing her concern on the recommendations of the Wage Board.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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