KARACHI: The government borrowing from commercial banks has sharply increased by 26 percent during first seven months of the current fiscal year mainly due to financing the ballooning budget deficit.
The government borrowing from commercial banks increased to Rs906.54 billion during first seven months (July – January) of 2020/2021 as compared with Rs720.68 billion in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year, according to statistics released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Tuesday.
The federal government borrows from scheduled banks through fortnightly auctioning of Market Treasury Bills (MTBs) of 3-, 6- and 12-month maturities. The federal also borrows long-term by quarterly auctioning of Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs)/Sukuk of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 years maturities.
The budget deficit for the first half of the current fiscal year widened to 2.5 percent of the GDP as the budget deficit was 2.3 percent in the same half of the last fiscal year, according to fiscal operation for first half of the fiscal year 2020/2021 issued by the finance ministry.
The government financed the budget deficit with the domestic borrowing to the tune of Rs683.48 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year. Likewise, the government borrowing was Rs481.13 billion in the same half of the last fiscal year.
Since there is restriction of borrowing from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) the government is heavily dependent on commercial banks. During the period the government retired borrowing from SBP to the tune of Rs317.7 billion as against the retirement of Rs266 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year.