PTI government has added Rs 17,500 billions(17.5 trillion) to the loans in 43 months

PTI government has taken as much loan in 43 months that PPP and PML-N governments took in 10 years

PTI government came into power with promise to reduce the burden of loans on Pakistan. PTI government promised to retire at least Rs 10,000 billion loans during his tenure. But instead of reducing the debt burden, it added Rs 17,500 billion (17.5 trillion) loans in just 43 months. 
Prime Minister Imran khan was used to criticise the PPP and PML-N governments to increase the debt burden and taking more loans. The PTI leaders used to remind us on daily basis that how heavily the PPP and PML-N governments borrowed during their tenures. 

But PM Imran Khan's government has taken nearly as much loans as taken by PPP and PML-N governments in 10 years. Now we hardly heard anything about the rising debts and heavy borrowing under the PTI government.  

Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities crossed Rs50 trillion mark for the first time in the history. It jumped to the record Rs51.5 trillion at the end of January 2022 an addition of Rs21.7 trillion in the past 43 months. There was an increase of nearly 70% in total debt of the country.

The budget allocation for repayment of debts and interests has doubled in 43 months. PML-N government in his last budget in 2018 allocated nearly Rs1600 billions for debt retirement. The PTI government has allocated nearly Rs3200 billions for repayment of debts. This is almost 100% increase in the budget allocation.  

In June 2018, every Pakistani owed Rs144, 000, which increased to Rs235, 000 by September 2021, an additional burden of Rs91, 000 or 63% during PTI’s tenure.


Like its predecessor, the PTI government too is running on foreign and domestic loans and has failed to enhance revenues to such levels where its debt burden can be reduced.

The situation is no different when it comes to the public debt, which is the direct responsibility of the federal government. The government has added Rs17.5 trillion to the public debt during its tenure, which was equal to 165% of the debt the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government acquired in five years.

The public debt increased to Rs42.5 trillion by September this year, an addition of Rs17.5 trillion during PTI’s tenure. Total public debt increased 76% from July 2018 to January 2022.

The PTI government added, on average, Rs14 billion a day to the public debt, which was more than double the daily average addition of Rs5.8 billion by the PML-N government. When the PML-N government completed its five-year term, the total public debt stood at Rs24.95 trillion, or 72.5% of GDP.

The latest State Bank of Pakistan data shows that Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities (outstanding) reached an all-time high of $130.6 billion at the end of October-December quarter of current financial year, an increase of $13.6bn or 12% year on year basis.

The increase is mainly attributable to the higher mobilisation of foreign funds to plug fiscal and current account deficits and the accumulation of foreign reserves during the period.

During the PTI government, foreign debt rose by $35.3bn or 37%, while it was $95bn when the PTI government came into power. During PML-N tenure, foreign debt soared by $34bn as it was $61bn when it came into power.

According to the latest data issued by the SBP, 78% of the entire debt can be attributed to public external debt, the combination of the government’s long term and short-term external debt, IMF loans to the central bank, and foreign exchange liabilities.  

In February 2019, PM Khan had vowed to bring the public debt down to Rs20 trillion. He had been very critical of the economic policies followed by the previous PPP and PML-N governments and had set up the Debt Inquiry Commission to investigate the reasons behind the addition of Rs18 trillion to the debt stock in 10 years. Despite completion of the inquiry, the premier has withheld the release of the report.

The accumulation of debt is a direct result of the gap between expenditures and revenues, which is widening due to the inelasticity of debt servicing and defence needs and the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) failure to enhance tax collection significantly.

                                                                       Khalid Bhatti         

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