ISLAMABAD - Debt of the public sector entities has swelled by Rs237.8 billion by December 2017 due to the government's failure to bring reforms in the ailing public sector enterprises (PSEs).

Debt of the PSEs has increased to Rs888.8 billion at the end of December 2017 as compared to Rs651 billion a year ago, showing an increase of 36.5 percent. The debt is increasing at rapid pace as ailing PSEs could not meet its expenses due to their heavy losses.

The government has failed to privatize the loss-making PSEs including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Steel Mills and power sector companies in last four and half years.

Similarly, losses of power sector entities and PIA are increasing with the passage of year. The incumbent government is under severe pressure for increasing domestic as well as foreign debt servicing as it continues to pay mostly interest. Similarly, PSEs are increasing to overall debt servicing.

Meanwhile, the collective debt and liabilities of PSEs have increased to Rs1108.6 billion at the end of December 2017 compared to Rs856 billion a year ago, according to the data of State Bank of Pakistan.

Liabilities alone have swelled to Rs219.7 billion in 2017 as against Rs204.9 billion of a year ago.

PIA's debt has increased to Rs134.9 billion at the end of December 2017 as compared to Rs103.2 billion of a year ago. The government is now claiming to privatize the national flag carrier before ending its tenure.

Federal Privatization Minister Daniyal Aziz last month announced his plans to trigger the process for the sale of PIA.

Debt of Pakistan Steel Mills remained at Rs43.2 billion. The Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) was forced to shut down two and half years back. The PSM management is not in position to pay the salaries to the employees. The federal government is paying salaries to the PSM's workers from its own resources. The government failed to privatise Pakistan Steel.

Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) recorded an increase of over Rs20 billion in one year, as its debt increased to Rs82.1 billion at the end of December 2017, which was Rs61.1 billion a year ago. Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC)'s debt has shown slight increase of Rs400 million and recorded at Rs3.5 billion in December 2017.

Meanwhile, debt of other PSEs has swelled Rs625 billion at the end of December 2017 as compared to Rs440 billion of the last year, according to the latest data of the State Bank of Pakistan.