Public debt has been
the talk of the town in recent years in Pakistan. It is adversely affecting the
economy as well as public life in Pakistan. The fundamental question however,
is why does Pakistan’s government require voluminous amounts of debt borrowed
from the public? More so, were the past debts rightfully utilized for the
people? If so, has there been sufficient improvement in the public sector in
the past till now? It is imperative to examine these questions in view of
public debt and its devastating effects on public life.
Public debt is defined
as the amount of capital a government owes to the public. According to the
Pakistan Economic Survey of 2016-2017, the trends being observed in view of public
debt from the years 2003 till March 2017 have progressed significantly. That
said, this means that the public debt has gradually increased over the course
of fourteen years, with no decrease in public debt whatsoever.
In 2003, Pakistan’s
public debt was 3,694 billion (rupees) followed by 3,866 billion in 2004; the
debt increased as a result. Similarly, the public debt increased significantly
in 2005 (4,211
billion) and 2006 (4,359 billion) respectively. From the years 2007 till 2009,
the public debt increased from 4,802 billion to 7,731 billion rupees.
Similarly, in 2010 the debt was 9,006 billion and between the years 2011 (10,757
billion) till 2015 (17,381 billion), the public debt increased considerably.
In 2016, the public debt rose from 17,381 billion rupees to
19,678 billion. This year in March, the public debt amounted 20,873 billion
rupees. On the other hand, the publically guaranteed debt in 2011 was 0.1
billion (U.S. dollars), 0.2 billion in 2012, 0.6 billion in 2013, 0.5 billion
in 2014, 1.0 billion in 2015, 1.3 billion in 2016 and 1.2 billion in 2017. Considering
factual information and data, it proves that Pakistan’s public debt has only
increased over the years. Why? I will be addressing this question by listing
the causes of increased public debt and its effects on public life.
Public Life (Indicators) – How Is
Public Debt Affecting Public Life In Pakistan
Education is considered as the backbone of any
country. When the government borrows capital from the public, the citizens know
ahead of time that their money is in the right hands. However, this process can
go awry, depending on the nature of the government and whether they utilize the
money for the betterment of the public. In the context of Pakistan, the
government has been rather unsuccessful in rightfully utilizing public capital
on education. Based on the statistics relevant to public debt, it can be deduced
that public debt has increased over the years from 2003 onwards. Most education
institutions have not flourished as they should have. The progress remains
dormant and the public in general have had to put up with poor education and
Health is another important indicator of
public life. Given the current rate of public debt in Pakistan, it has
increased considerably yet the healthcare system of the country is inefficient
and disorganized with the exception of a few facilities. Many third world
countries such as Sri Lanka and India have high tech technology for their healthcare
systems however Pakistan’s progression in view of health and medical care is
unsatisfactory. Since millions of rupees are being used up by the government,
as validated by statistics by the Pakistan Economic Survey of 2017, lack of attention
is being drawn to healthcare and little improvement has been seen in recent
years regarding this indicator.
facilities have improved in different parts of Pakistan,
however it is not enough. That said, constructing roads and metro bus stations
should have been implemented long time ago as they are not considered as ‘new
inventions.’ Almost every country have had these transport facilities for
decades but Pakistan was perhaps one of the few nations to not have produced
good transportation until recently. Moreover, bullet trains and use of advanced
technology is still considered a prominent issue and concern for the public as
it only proves that Pakistan lacks the potential to develop efficient transport
facilities considering technology and funding concerns. Hence, it can be said
that public capital has not been appropriated the right way.
development is yet another problem the public has
to put up with. The development of useful buildings, skyscrapers and
infrastructure in general are impeded by the government of Pakistan. Although
the government has what it takes to initiate this framework, it has failed to
do so. The public capital is being exploited and very little has been done to
preserve, maintain update historical sites. When compared to other nations,
Pakistan falls way behind in infrastructure mobility. Even so, pending projects
are not being worked on as well.
In the end, it can be
concluded that Pakistan’s public debt has increased by a margin and there seems
to be no mechanism intact to manage public debt and give back to Pakistanis.
Bearing the statistics in mind, the public debt index has only increased over
the years as stated above. Moreover, it is negatively affecting the public
overall. That said, the more the public debt is, the more an economy is likely
What can be done? Given
below are a few future recommendations to overcome excessive public debt.
management is essential, especially
when the rate of public debt is increasing by the day. The government of
Pakistan needs to manage the debt and invest the capital in education, health
and welfare for the country. Unless debt is not managed properly, the money will
go down the drain and the economy will suffer, so will the people.
cuts is another important
recommendation to consider. By reducing the imports and increasing exports, the
economy can withstand and the public debt can be managed as well. How? The less
money spent on imports can be invested in places where the capital generated by
the public, in the form of debt, was being utilized.
taxes will generate more money and
lower public debt as it did for spending cuts for better functioning of the
society and its needs.
strategies and creative means of dealing with problems, such as increased public debt can give the government and
its people a sense of clear direction. That way, things can function better and
smoothly. It all depends on how well the new strategy is in addressing the