Circular debt: Former finance minister slams current administration

Qamar says PML-N adopting ‘anti-public’ policy.

Irshad Ansari January 03, 2014
The government has paid Rs480 billion but despite that the circular debt has gone up to Rs230 billion. CREATIVE COMMONS

ISLAMABAD: Inflation has entered double digits since the time the federal government took over the reign, said former finance minister Syed Naveed Qamar, adding that the government’s decision to print notes in order to pay for circular debt is causing further problems.

Qamar termed it an anti-public policy, saying that the government does not pay heed to the issue.

“If it had to clear circular debt by printing notes the PPP government could have also done it,” said Qamar. “But the PPP never took such a decision and had always adopted policies in public interest.

“History has witnessed that PPP has always tolerated criticism from its opponents but never took a decision that directly affected the masses.”

Speaking about the concrete measures taken by the PPP government, he said the inflation rate was 24% when it took over and was followed by policies that helped minimise it to a mere seven percent, quoting the official figure of the State Bank of Pakistan to prove his point.

Responding to a question, he said that to pay circular debt the PML-N government has acquired loans and shown that these were taken by the previous administration.

Responding to another question, Qamar said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has repeatedly said that to clear circular debt the government has only taken Rs59 billion from the federal divisible pool. He termed the move wrong because from the pool 60% goes to the provincial governments, while only 40 percent goes to the federal government.

He slammed the government, saying that if they had to take money from the pool then they should have got it approved by the Council of Common Interest or should have taken all the provinces into confidence.

The government has paid Rs480 billion but despite that the circular debt has gone up to Rs230 billion.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2014.

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