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Economic indicators pointing towards growth despite pandemic, Minister

During a press briefing following a meeting of the federal cabinet, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said that despite the corona pandemic, the economic indicators are showing improvement.

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The Minister for Information during a press briefing said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had inherited high levels of debt servicing of over $10 billion per year. Short term and expensive commercial loans ($17 billion) along with high external borrowing ($ 49.76 billion) by the previous governments has been the primary reason for the surge in debt servicing, he added.

However, the economic indicators are pointing towards growth despite the Covid19 pandemic, mentioned the minister.

Higher external borrowing ($49.76 billion), especially short-term and expensive commercial loans ($17 billion), by the previous government was the prime reason behind the surge in debt servicing, he said.

In the first 10 months of fiscal year 2020-21, the government has paid $7.52 billion including $6.31 billion in principal loans and $1.21 billion in interest payments, said the minister

While inflows were estimated at $14.37 billion, the government had to return $10.36 billion on account of external loans including the principal and interest payments during the the current fiscal year.

The had also government borrowed $10.5 billion as programme and project loans in the same period to fulfilll its obligations,” he said. “Hence, the net inflow of external loans is $2.98 billion.”

The actual net inflow was curtailed to $0.98 billion only as the government also returned $2 billion to Saudi Arabia during the current fiscal year, the minister revealed.

Read More: PML-N drained $20b from Pakistani economy: Finance Minister

Talking about India, Chaudhry said the restoration of relations with the neighboring country is out of question unless it returns Kashmir’s special status prior to August 5, 2019, position.

The statement on India came after the cabinet’s rejection on allowing Television’s (PTV) to enter into a contract with Indian companies for telecasting Pakistan’s upcoming cricketing series.

The minister also made it clear that giving military bases to the United States for future US operations in Afghanistan is unthinkable and no negotiations are in progress with anyone for giving any base.

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