August 8, 2019: Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar on Thursday informed the National Assembly that the government would return over $10 billion foreign debt during the current fiscal year.
Replying to various supplementary questions during Question Hour, the minister said the incumbent government returned $8.39 billion foreign debt from August 18, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
The minister said the foreign debt on August 18, 2018 was US $ 73.1 billion.
The minister said the stock of outstanding external debt of Pakistan till May 2019 stood at Rs 10,838 billion. In order to resolve economic issues, the government was introducing comprehensive set of economic and structural reforms particularly focusing on export, re-establishing fiscal stability and improving governance in key utilities and state owned enterprises.
Regarding devaluation of rupee, Hammad Azhar said that the recent movement in the exchange rate reflected resolution of the macroeconomic imbalances accumulated over the past few years when the rupee was kept overvalued, the increased demand for imported goods led to widening of the current account deficit to unmanageable levels putting severe pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
As a result of the demand-supply gap in the foreign exchange market, rupee depreciated by 13.7 per cent in FY 18 and 24.1 per cent in FY 19.
He said Pakistan’s current exchange rate regime was flexible and market determined. The State Bank, however was committed to addressing disorderly market behavior, he added.