2022 All-Stars Back in Power – Bigger Debt Crisis?

It gives us big relief that legislators finally managed to get the April 2022 All-Stars back in power after last month’s General Elections.

The February 8 elections saw two things take shape: more internet bans (mostly X) and the return of Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif as premier.

The new government has the same individuals who added Rs. 18.5 trillion in public debt in just 15 months compared to the same debt level incurred by its predecessor.

Not confirmed yet but Ishaq Dar will likely return as finance chief soon, a preferred choice for aged veterans in the field of business.

2018-2023

Throughout history, governments couldn’t avoid raising more debt to maintain their expenses, but the pace of raising debt in the past 2 years has been widely regarded as problematic.

The 2018 government accrued Rs. 18.1 trillion in public debt over 44 months, a figure surpassed by the Shahbaz-led coalition in just one-third of the time when it first came to power in April 2022.

The central government debt ballooned from ~Rs. 43 trillion in March 2022 to ~Rs. 61 trillion by the end of the fiscal year 2022-23, up 42 percent. This surge added over Rs. 18 trillion in just 15 months, a big chunk of it raised by pundits’ favorite Ishaq Dar when he was rushed in as Finance Minister to replace Miftah Ismail in September 2022.

During the coalition’s last month in power (July 2023), Dar piled up another Rs. 936 billion, bringing the total debt amassed during Shehbaz Sharif’s 16-month premiership to over Rs. 19 trillion.

The pace of public debt accumulation was fueled by the sudden rise in expenditures due to post-flood aftershocks, and inadequate revenue collection from key sectors like real estate, services, and agriculture, coupled with Rupee’s historic collapse against the US Dollar during the period.

It bears mentioning that a month before leaving office, Dar claimed the real value of the PKR was below 250. The rupee crashed below 300 a month later.

Stakes For Approval

The same team (almost) that added Rs. 41 billion per day to the debt stock in its first tenure is back for another spin behind the wheel. Vibes are uncertain and many economists are banking on more crises to unfold unless the government has a plan this time. Expenditures have to come down and the tax net enhanced without bombing the citizens with more bills, which will prove that the formula is finally working.

Besides the IMF, World Bank, and other lending partners, locals will support lawmakers who help lower the inflationary burden. For starters, the Public Sector Development Program can be put on hold for the time being while stringent policy should be encouraged, particularly with participation from reps like the Pakistan Business Council and chambers of commerce, to increase tax-to-GDP to at least 15 percent by the end of fiscal year 2025-26.

Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect ProPakistani or its owners.


  • Why are you mixing performance with the debts see the debt in KPK from 2013 to 2023 debt crisis will remain or not government should always be formed by national members of assembly.


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