Business

Businessmen worried over growing debt


ISLAMABAD:

The total debt of the central government has increased by more than 11% in the last one year, which should be a matter of concern for the policymakers, said Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Muhammad Shakeel Munir.

Talking to a business delegation on Wednesday, the ICCI chief said that the rising debt burden would consume most of the financial resources on debt servicing and would leave insufficient budget for development projects, thus affecting economic growth of the country.

Urging the government to formulate a comprehensive strategy, he lamented that the total debt of the central government had surged to Rs39.77 trillion by August 2021 from Rs35.66 trillion a year ago.

In the same month, the external debt increased to Rs13.436 trillion from Rs12.123 trillion in August 2020.

“The trend shows that our country is sinking into a debt trap and the government has to borrow to pay interest on loans, which is worrying,” he said.

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He urged the government to reduce its reliance on loans and run the economy on indigenous resources. “With reliance on indigenous resources, Pakistan can move towards sustainable economic growth,” he said.

On the occasion, ICCI Senior Vice President Jamshed Akhtar Sheikh and Vice President Muhammad Faheem Khan said that compared to regional countries, the electricity tariff in Pakistan was high, which had increased the cost of doing business besides pushing up inflation.

“In these conditions, the government should have focused on providing cheap electricity to the business community to lower the production cost and boost business activities.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2021.

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