Country’s total debt stands at $ 62.5 bln: NA told

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Secretary for Finance and Revenue Rana Mohammad Afzal on Wednesday apprised the National Assembly that the country’s total debt stood at $ 62.5 billion.

Responding to various supplementary questions during Question Hour, the Secretary said the debt was under the limit of Debt Limitation and Responsibility Act .

He brushed aside that hefty loans were taken by the government which could not be paid.

Afzal said national economic was stable and foreign reserve stood at over $ 20 billion adding that it was mere $ 8 billion in 2013 when the incumbent government took charge. The revenue collection witnessed 40 per cent increase during the last four years and it would be further improved, he said.

Replying to another question, he categorically said that proposal was under consideration to devalue currency.

To a question, Afzal said Indian enmity related to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been revealed. He appreciated the Foreign Minister for effectively pleading country’s cause during his (FM) visit to USA. Owing to effective policies, US delegation was visiting Pakistan and Afghan President was also in schedule, he added.

He also brushed aside speculation that economic sanction was being imposed on Pakistan.

He advised the members to avoid seeping statement on floor of the house without any proofs. No fudge figures were given on the floor of this August house by Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar, he added.

He said the members could not only raise the issue in this house but also in the meeting of standing committee on Finance.

To another question, the minister said Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) had disbursed loans of Rs 92,450.925 million during fiscal year 2016-17 and out of which Rs 75,723.473 million was disbursed in Punjab.

Giving the breakup, he said an amount of Rs 75,723.473 million was disbursed in Punjab, Rs 12,643.586 million in Sindh, Rs 3200.867 in KPK, Rs 264.398 million in Balochistan, Rs 289.580 million in Gilgit and Rs 329 million in Muzaffarabad.

To a supplementary question, the Secretary said ZTBL has 460 branches across the country and out of which 212 branches were running in losses.

About non-performing loans of ZTBL, Afzal told the House that ratio of non-performing loans in Punjab was recorded as 5 per cent, 41 per cent in Sindh, 22 per cent in KPK, 100 per cent in Balochistan and 1.3 per cent in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The Bank has performed well over the past four years. Its total assets have increased from Rs. 148,448 million in 2013 to Rs. 215,561 million in 2016. All officers working in the Head Office have contributed to this performance.

Total expenditure incurred on the officers in terms of their pay is Rs 3.325 billion since January 1, 2013 to August 31, 2017.

To a question, he said trade deficit was increased due to surge in imports of heavy machineries for CPEC projects.