ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has expressed great concerns over the rising debt of the federal government, which has soared to Rs.23.7 trillion during the first eleven month of the current fiscal year and called upon the government to evolve a comprehensive new strategy in consultation with all stakeholders to curb the rising debt as further increase in debt would jeopardize the economic future of the country and bring more problems to the general public.
Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the external debt and liabilities of Pakistan had also increased to $91.8 billion by the end of March 2018 showing an increase of over 50% during the last five years and called upon the government to take urgent measures to reduce the country’s dependence on borrowings as it would create more problems for the economy. He said from July 2013, with every passing year, the quantum of borrowings kept growing due to the government’s inability to implement policies that could have ensured sufficient non-debt creating inflows like FDI and exports promotion. He said due to the imprudent policies, the external debt has gone up from $60.9 billion in June 2013 to $91.8 billion in March 2018 showing an increase of over 50 percent.
He cautioned that if this unhealthy trend was not curbed immediately, the external debt would soon touch $100 billion that would create grave challenges for the economy. He stressed that government should reset its priorities and take urgent measures to reduce the country’s reliance on heavy borrowing as rising debt servicing obligations would put great strain on the foreign exchange reserves and affect the pace of economic growth of the country.
Muhammad Naveed Malik Senior Vice President and Nisar Mirza Vice President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry emphasized that the government should focus on promoting business activities, exports and broaden the tax base. These measures would enhance the indigenous resources of the country and reduce its dependence on borrowings. They said to realize these objectives, government should address all key issues exporters and cooperate with private sector in identifying new markets for exports that would help in improving forex reserves and enable the country to get rid of heavy borrowings.