Punjab to pay Rs15b in interest amid delayed repayment, increased borrowing

By: News Desk      Published: 04:13 PM, 26 Nov, 2020
Punjab to pay Rs15b in interest amid delayed repayment, increased borrowing

Amid an alarming rise in new borrowings and the delay in returning the amount means Punjab now has to pay Rs15 billion in interest every year, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Thursday.

Hence, the province will have to pay this interest amount of Rs15 billion for the yearly instalment of Rs45 billion.

Earlier, 24NewsHD reported yesterday that the total debt for the province had surged to Rs9.45 trillion since the PTI came into power in 2018. The total volume was Rs5.68 trillion under the PML-N government.

And despite this alarming trend, the PTI government in the province is persevering and eyeing more as a committee has been formed to obtain Rs47 billion loan from the World Bank.

Headed by Planning and Development Secretary Imran Sikandar Baloch, this committee will hold talks and ink an agreement with the World Bank after formalising terms and conditions for the purpose.

Meanwhile, officials from finance and law departments are also part of the committee.

The stated purpose of this loan is to introduce reforms in development and organisations’ budgets.

As far as the increase in debt since the PTI came into power after 2018 general elections is concerned, official documents show that the amount borrowed since then currently stands at over Rs3.37 trillion.

Obviously, this practice is quite opposite to what had been promised before the elections with the PTI leadership constantly saying that they would not borrow more money and reform the government structure with a focus on health and education sectors.

But there is a serious question: why Punjab borrowed such a huge amount when there are no development projects while the spending in the health sector – like free medicines for cancer and cardiac patients – has also been curtailed.

A similar situation is being witnessed in the education sector where the varsities have been experiencing a drastic cut in their budget while the informal schools opened for the children of brick-kiln workers are also shut.