Bilateral debt restructuring not under consideration: SBP governor

Erum Zaidi
Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Jameel Ahmad presents the new fiscal policy at the banks headquarters in Karachi on January 23, 2023. — AFP
Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Jameel Ahmad presents the new fiscal policy at the bank's headquarters in Karachi on January 23, 2023. — AFP

  • SBP Governor Ahmad says restructuring not under consideration.
  • $0.4bn paid out of $3.6bn for this month, says Governor Ahmad.
  • Govt to decide appropriate time to issue Eurobond, governor adds.

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad clarified Monday that Pakistan was not considering a bilateral debt restructuring that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had mentioned earlier.

"As of now there is no plan to enter into any debt restructuring. Absolutely no doubt about it. We are not considering any such plan; so there is no question of what will be the haircut," he said during a briefing to analysts, according to The News.

After presenting the federal budget for FY2024, FinMin Dar said that the government was working on possibly restructuring its bilateral debt regardless of whether it completes its IMF review.

The SBP governor said most of the debt is bilateral and multilateral as they have paid large amounts of commercial debt and will pay Eurobonds when due, said Topline Securities, citing the governor.

The governor said that out of the total external repayment amount of $3.6 billion due this month, $0.4 billion has already been paid. The remaining balance of $2.3 billion will be rolled over, while $0.9 billion needs to be financed.

The total debt requirements for FY2024 will amount to approximately $23 billion, according to the SBP, which will be evenly distributed across four quarters.

In the next monetary policy statement, the SBP will come up with how to fund this depending upon IMF and other factors.

The governor highlighted that discussions are ongoing with IMF and hopeful that the review will conclude soon.

He expected that Rs1 trillion would be transferred to the government due to the profit earned by the SBP after retaining a specific portion during FY2024.

The SBP expects the current account deficit (CAD) for FY2023 will close to $3.5 billion (worst case $4 billion) due to policy induce import restrictions and available liquidity (exports and remittances).

The CAD for FY2024 will also be below $4 billion.

According to Ahmad, the government will decide the appropriate time to issue Eurobond, keeping market fundamentals and credit rating in mind.