Per capita public debt stood at Rs 216,709: NA told

By Asad Cheema

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha on Monday informed the National Assembly that per capita public debt stood at Rs 216,709 by June 2022.
Replying to a query during the Question Hour, the minister said Pakistan had maintained a debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio at 73.5 per cent during the period under review.
She said the country’s total public debt was Rs 52,721 billion till December 2022, including domestic debt of Rs 33,116 billion and and external debt of Rs 19,605 billion.
She said most countries relied on the debt inflows to fulfill the shortfall in available resources to fund the government budget. The government borrowed to mainly finance its budget deficit approved by the parliament every year which included the Public Sector Development Programme, running of the civil government, and more importantly to pay interest on loans taken in the past, she added.
Answering another question, the minister the government was committed to an interest-free economy, and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in consultation with the Finance Division was working to devise a policy for adopting interest-free banking instruments.
A committee had been constituted and deliberations were underway to prepare a transformational plan in that regard, she added. The committee comprised officials from the SBP, Finance Ministry, Islamic and commercial banks, and Ulema as the entire financial system would have to change, she said.
The minister said Islamic Banking witnessed an impressive improvement in the country in recent years. Aisha Ghaus said an amount of Rs 50,120 million had been released to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government so far during the current financial year 2022-23 to meet current and development expenditures of the erstwhile FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas).
Rs 115,200 million (Rs 60 billion for current and Rs 55.2 billion for development) was allocated for current and development expenditures of the erstwhile FATA during FY 2022-23, she added.
However, she said, no amount was earmarked for temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) during the current financial year.
Mohsin Dawar, Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor and Minister of Overseas Pakistani Sajid Hussain Turi staged a walk-out of the House for not releasing development budget to the erstwhile FATA.