$16.4bn external debt paid in two years, Hammad tells Senate

Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said no cut on NFC share of provinces imposed.

ISLAMABAD: The upper house of the Parliament was informed on Friday that the government has paid back $16.4 billion external debt and Rs19.9 trillion domestic debt during the last two years.

Responding to various supplementary questions during the Question Hour, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that record debt servicing was done during the last two years. The government was retiring $10 billion debt annually approximately, he added.

The Senate began its session at the Parliament House with Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair.

To another question, Hammad Azhar said that the country’s foreign exchange reserves have increased to the $20 billion despite record debt servicing. He said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has foreign exchange reserves of $13 billion. The reserves have increased due to improvement in exports and remittances, he added.

The minister said the current account has shown a surplus of $1.6 billion during the first five months of the current financial year against a deficit of $ 1.7 billion in the corresponding period of last year.

To a separate question, he said no cut on the National Finance Commission (NFC) share of provinces has been imposed by the federal government. It was not a fact that the government has imposed a cut of Rs154 billion on the share of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in the NFC Award, he added.

The minister for industries said that special economic zones will be constructed under the mega China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. He said construction work on three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) has been expedited. He said that projects worth $1.7 billion are in the phase of implementation in Gwadar under the CPEC.

He added two projects have already been completed while seven projects worth $1.2 billion projects are in the execution phase.

Adviser on Commerce and Trade Abdul Razak Dawood informed the house that the government is taking concrete steps to boost exports. He said that during the coronavirus pandemic the government provided a stimulus package worth Rs180 billion to industries.

The adviser said the government strengthened its economic ties with African countries under its Look Africa Policy to enhance the outreach of Pakistani goods in international markets. Trade committees have been formed to conduct bilateral trade negotiations with various countries.


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