Federal Minister Asad Umar gives a befitting reply to US criticism against Pak China CPEC

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Federal Minister Asad Umar gives a befitting reply to US criticism against Pak China CPEC

ISLAMABAD - Minster for Planning Asad Umar says economic growth will improve with the paying of loans.

Talking to media in Karachi on Saturday, he said assertion of US Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells regarding CPEC related loans is not based on facts.

The Minister said it is true that foreign debt of the country has reached to a level that is impeding the growth of economy. He said the loans were taken in the past as imports exceeded exports of the country and trade deficit was increasing.

He said total public debt of the country stands at 74 billion dollars. Of this, the debt from China is 18 billion dollars, less than one fourth. He said CPEC related debt out of 18 billion dollars is 4.9 billion dollars. He said CPEC loan is 7 percent of the total external debt.

Asad Umar said three fourth of the debt is from other countries or multilateral institutions. He said Chinese institutions funded Pakistan at a difficult economic time due to deep friendship bonds between the two countries.

The Minister expressed satisfaction that commercial bilateral debt with China will start reducing at a faster pace in the coming years and will be replaced by multilateral debt.

Asad Umar said the public debt taken from China has a maturity of 20 years with average interest rate of 2.34 percent. He said the first phase of CPEC focused on road infrastructure and energy related projects.

Pakistan