ISLAMABAD

Pakistan plans to raise another $500 million by auctioning a bond in the international market despite facing criticism from the opposition parties and economists for offering a Eurobond at higher interest rate in first half of the ongoing fiscal year.

The government, in budget 2015-2016, had estimated to generate $1 billion from the auction of bonds in the international market. It had issued a new 10-year bond of $500 million in the international Euro bond market in September 2015 at a coupon rate of 8.25 percent.

Therefore, Pakistan has still to raise another $500 million in next three and half months.

Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance has already showed concerns over raising $500 million at higher interest rate.

The committee has decided to call financial advisor of the transaction to give details of the account from where the money was transferred abroad, as the committee fears some Pakistani banks have purchased the bonds.

The PML-N government is heavily relying on taking foreign loans since June 2013, including issuing bonds worth $3.5 billion in the international market, which build the reserves.

Pakistan, in 2014-2015, had raised $1 billion from

the issuance of 5-year dollar-denominated Sukuk bonds in the international debt markets.

Similarly, the country also raised $2 billion from the issuance of 5 and 10-year Eurobonds in global capital markets.

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $20.52 billion, as on March 4, 2016, whereas SBP reserves were $15.66 billion and commercial banks’ reserves were $4.86 billion.

The SBP reserves had fallen to $2.8 billion in February 2014, and since then they have continuously risen to $15.66 billion, indicating a net official reserves build-up of about $12.9.

Due to the massive borrowing, Pakistan’s public debt went up to Rs 18,143 billion at the end of September 2015, registering an increase of Rs 762 billion during the first quarter (July-September) of 2015-16. A major portion of the public debt was of domestic nature, which stood at Rs 12, 718 billion while external debt is Rs 5, 424 billion.