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Finance Ministry rejects media reports about Pakistan’s gross financing needs

ISLAMABAD: Finance Ministry on Sunday rejected media reports about Pakistan’s gross financing needs and said that it was highly exaggerated.

Rejecting a media query regarding high gross external financing requirements of Pakistan and the risks, the spokesman of the Ministry of Finance said that such media reports misinterpret external account data and are entirely misleading.

Pakistan’s gross external financing requirements in FY 2018 have been misreported with different media reports putting the figure differently ranging from 31 to 26 billion US dollars, to 17 billion to 12 billion US dollars.

The spokesman said that first, Pakistan continues to maintain a healthy level of foreign exchange reserves despite pressures. Second, the gross financing need for the year 2018 is not as high as reported in the media.

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It is said Pakistan’s gross financing need for 2017- 18 is estimated at 17 to 18 billion US dollars which is 5 to 5.3 % of GDP.

The spokesman clarified that arrangements are in place to meet the gross external financing need of the country. These arrangements include government official inflows from multilateral and bilateral sources, Sukuk / Euro bonds, privatization proceeds, foreign direct investment, private capital inflows and commercial financing, if necessary.

After accounting for these arrangements, the net financing gap is estimated to be in the range of 2 to 2.5 billion dollars.

Meanwhile, Spokesman of Finance Division said that the government had to pay back only 3.6 billion US dollars to foreign creditors against external public debt over the remaining period of current fiscal year 2017-18.

Referring to news reports in a section of media, wherein it is stated that Pakistan had to pay back six billion US dollars in the next six months, the spokesman clarified that total payments against external public debt during fiscal year 2017-18 were six billion out of which 2.4 billion US dollars had already been paid.

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The spokesman said that external public debt repayment obligations for Pakistan were not more than an average of US$ five billion per annum until 2022.

State Minster for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal said that the government had successfully achieved its development targets during the last four years.

“Through revolutionary policies the country had been put on the road to progress and prosperity,” he said while addressing a reception in Faisalabad.

He said that some anti-government elements were trying to sabotage China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for their own ulterior motives.

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