This Article Is About The Debt Limitation Bill Of The Governemnt Of Pakistan

1698 words - 7 pages

Making of fiscal responsibility and debt limitation bill- 2003After about more than one year the government has introduced in the national assembly the first ever Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Bill (FR&DLB) - 2003. It stipulates to achieve twin objectives of reducing fiscal deficit to zero from existing 4.5 per cent of GDP by June 30, 2008 and maintain a revenue surplus thereafter and to reduce public debt to 60 per cent of GDP from existing around 90 per cent by 2013 and to keep reducing it further by 2.5 per cent each year. Introduction of the bill was long over due but given the uncertainty of the milieu in which economic and political policies were operated in the past, the bill was hardly ever conceived to fulfill a constitutional obligation and when it was conceived it had to be delayed from July last year because of political expediencies. Hopefully, there is a change in the environment and national assembly will be in a position to debate the bill and make necessary changes to make it realistic.Fiscal law: a mustManagers of national economy have undergone a full cycle from planned and foreign-aid-dependent management of 60s and 80s to visible fiscal mismanagement of 90s wherein heavy and expensive domestic and foreign loans were contracted. From 2000 onwards measures were taken to impose fiscal discipline which helped to put economy on the right rack with visible macro-economic goals, partially achieved, with the help of IMF packages like ESAF, SBA and PRGF, and liberal inflows from WB and ADB under various development and improvement projects. Post 11 September 2001 government's decision to join hands with Washington to wage war on terrorism has helped in improving macro-economic indicators, ease payment schedule of foreign debt because of rescheduling of $12.5 foreign debt and building forex reserve of more than $11 billion becauseof direct US dollar purchase from international market and remittances by expatriates. The cumulative effect of these gains has been building capacity to reduce debt. The government is now poised to retire comparatively more costly 18 loans of WB and ADB totaling $1.078 billion. However, despite visible ease to retire foreign debt, there is a word of caution: domestic debt is one the increase. It has increased from Rs1453 billion in October 1999 to Rs1812 billion, a net increase of Rs359 billion or $6.25 billion at current exchange rate. In case one were to convert domestic loan of Rs1453 billion in October, 1999 at current exchange rate, it would amount to $25.25 billion. Addition of foreign debt of $35 billion to it makes total public debt equal to $60.25 billion. $35.00 billion foreign debt at present plus dollar equivalent of domestic debt of Rs1812 billion i.e. $31.5 billion, makes total public debt liability equivalent to $66.5 billion. These figures show that public debt in terms of dollars, volume-wise has increased by $6.25 billion. How does government justify that public debt is on...

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