'Circular debt increasing by Rs1.27b daily'

PML-N's Miftah Ismail hits out at PTI for ‘mismanaging’ economic affairs

Our Correspondent March 08, 2019
Former finance ministry Miftah Ismail. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader and former finance minister Miftah Ismail has revealed that Rs1.277 billion is being added to the country’s circular debt each passing day under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

Taking to the popular micro-blogging site Twitter on Thursday, the former finance minister in a series of tweets lambasted the government for failing to handle the country’s economy.

He said the country’s total circular debt has reached as high as Rs1,409 billion within just ten months of the current regime which is a worrisome sign for the country’s economic structure. Ismail further hit out at the government for not only lying to the nation over taking back an increase in petrol prices but instead raised the prices by Rs12.12 per litre in petrol and Rs13.99 per liter in diesel.

“The government is making foolish economic decisions which are proving costly to the people of Pakistan,” he said, adding the circular debt was up to Rs505 billion in 2013 and along with this there was PHPL (Power Holding co) debt to banks of Rs340billion.

“Since PTI wants to combine both the amounts hence the total circular debt inherited by the PML-N when it came to power in 2013 was Rs885 billion.”

Ismail maintained the average production in 2013 was 12,000 megawatts and the PML-N added 10,000 megawatts to the national grid before leaving an average production of 20,000 megawatts towards the end of its tenure in 2018.

The PML-N leader further said the circular loan was Rs423 billion in May 2018 while the PHPL loan was Rs603 billion and the total circular loan was Rs1026 billion. He added in those five years only Rs77 million increased in the circular loan on a daily basis.

“Since the completion of our government the circular loan has increased by Rs383 billion in ten months by the PTI government,” he said.

Ismail added all this in spite of the fact the government has raised electricity rates by more than 15%.  “The simple reason for this situation can either be the government’s incapability of handling management issues or corruption,” surmised PML-N’s finance wizard.

He added the government has made foolish decisions to generate electricity by using expensive furnace oil rather than the cheaper LNG.

Meanwhile, Ismail added the people are suffering due to the government’s decisions. When the PML-N presented the budget of this year, the increase of 20 rupees per liter in petrol and diesel was purposed but the party did not increase the actual levy more than Rs10 per liter.

He further said that however PTI panned this move at that time and announced that if their government is elected, they would take back this increase and even while presenting their first mini budget, the government announced to take back the move of PML-N and said the levy has been taken back to Rs10 rupees per liter.

“This announcement received wide applause from treasury benches however in actual budget papers PTI never reversed what we had done,” he revealed