ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Thursday that as of May 31, 2022, the country’s total external debt and liabilities amounted to $126.07 billion, of which $85.64 billion was external debt public.
In a written response to a question, the economic affairs minister said Pakistan had secured a $7.3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during this period.
He said that “it is expected that the government will repay approximately $95.4 billion from June 2022 to June 2059 based on the existing commitments of the Pakistani government.”
“…of this amount, $82.0 billion will be repaid in principal while nearly $13.4 billion will be repaid in interest (subject to changes in exchange rates and interest rates)”, he added.
In a written response to another question, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that “Rs12.345 billion in loans have been obtained by the government from 2019 to April 2022”.
He said domestic lending is mainly obtained through auctions of Treasury Bills, Pakistan Investment Bonds/Sukuks conducted by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) from Prime Dealers (Commercial Banks) and other financial institutions.
He said loans from external sources are obtained from multilateral, bilateral and commercial sources, adding commercial loans, bonds and other loans are obtained by the Ministry of Finance directly from the international market and international banks.
He said the total value of loans (deposits) received from China by the government over the past three years was $1 billion at the rate of 12ml+1%.
The Chamber was also informed that the SBP plays an active role in promoting Islamic banking globally.
Responding to a question during Question Time, State Finance Minister Aisha Ghous Pasha said the government was committed to fulfilling its constitutional obligation regarding Riba.
She said the Islamic Ideology Advisory Council has recommended that there be a gradual change in the system to bring it in line with the injunctions of Islam.
She said any abrupt or sudden changes would create many difficulties for the country, adding that the government has taken concrete steps to encourage and facilitate Islamic banking in the country.
She said Islamic banking has seen robust growth of around 24-30% annually.
Responding to a question, she said that withholding tax deducted on mobile recharge is refundable and can be claimed by filing simple returns.
She said that currently there is no economic value or benefit to the country in allowing cryptocurrency activities in Pakistan.
However, the details of the SBP Governor’s salary and benefits were presented to the House, according to which the post of SBP Governor is currently vacant while the most senior Deputy Governor serves as Acting Governor.
According to the Ministry of Finance, here are the details of the total monthly salary as well as benefits derived by former SBP Governor Reza Baqir. The former governor of the SBP received a monthly salary of 2.5 million rupees.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the SBP Governor’s salary is increased by 10% per year and the Governor is provided with a fully furnished house.
He also receives two fully serviced chauffeur driven cars with a gas cap of 600 liters each as follows; 1800cc locally assembled car with option to buy at book value, 1600cc locally assembled car.
The Governor of the SBP also collects 75% of the total school fees of his children, in addition to free fixed/mobile telephones and Internet connection.
The SBP Governor’s utility expenses, including electricity, gas, water, and fuel for a back-up generator, are paid for by the State Bank.
His travel allowance is SBP rules/SBP board approved, while post-retirement benefits are also listed as SBP board approved.
Landline, mobile phone and internet are also provided free of charge to Governor SBP. As relocation expenses, airfare for the Governor and his family is covered. According to the list, the governor receives an annual raise of 10% of his monthly salary. For housing, the Governor of the State Bank receives either the State Bank House furnished and maintained or a rent allowance with furnishing and maintenance, as approved by the SBP Board of Directors.
For domestic help, the Governor is entitled to reimbursement of the actual salary paid up to four servants of Rs 18,000/head with periodic reviews of the grant by the Human Resources Committee as required.
The governor is also entitled to 24-hour security as required, including security guards and a security system, in addition to full medical facilities under SBP rules.
The governor also benefits from three leaves per month with an easy cash-out of leave of up to six months at the end of the mandate, while the gratuity is one month’s salary monetized for each year of service completed on the last salary taken.
The SBP Governor’s Travel Allowance is in accordance with the SBP Rules / SBP Board Approved, while Post-Retirement Benefits are also listed as SBP Board Approved.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022