Public debt is manageable: Finance Minister Pun

Kathmandu, July 2: Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun has ruled out the possibility of Nepal getting entrapped in the debt trap, saying compared to other countries Nepal’s public debt is in a manageable situation.

Responding to queries by lawmakers in a meeting of the House of Representatives Monday, the Finance Minister claimed that the cost of the loans taken by Nepal is also less. 

“Compared to the other countries, our public debt is at a comfortable stage in terms of the cost and risk of the loans. There is no chance the country will be caught up in the debt trap considering the amount and the cost of public debt so far,” he said, adding that the government is serious towards maintaining the sustainability of the loan while mobilizing the public debt. 

Finance Minister Pun reiterated that the government is conscious towards mobilizing the public loans in the productive sectors. According to him, Rs 98.08 billion was added in Nepal’s public debt and it has reached Rs 239.7 billion as of May 13 of the current fiscal year 2023-24.

The public debt remaining to be serviced stood at Rs 2299 billion and 350 million till July 16, 2023. The debt remaining to be serviced in proportion to the GDP is 42.02 per cent, the Finance Minister informed the House. 

Of the loans remaining to be paid back, internal loan is Rs 1184 billion and 480 million (49.4 percent of GDP) and the external loan is Rs 1212 billion and 950 million (50.6 percent of GDP).

The Finance Minister said that the government has mobilized a total Rs 264 billion 633 million and 600 thousand, including Rs 191 billion towards internal loans and Rs 73 billion 633 million and 600 thousand towards the external loans until May 13, 2024 in the current fiscal year.

Similarly, he said the government has paid principal totaling Rs 166 billion 554 million and 400 thousand, including Rs 135 billion 623 million and 300 thousand towards internal loans and Rs 30 billion 931 million and 100 thousand towards external loans during this period.

Finance Minister Pun also informed the HoR meeting about the achievement of the Third Investment Summit the government organized on April 28 and 29. He said the private sector’s morale has been boosted due to the Summit. 

Similarly, the law related to facilitation of investment has been amended and the expression of interest has been called for 19 projects, the Project Bank has been updated and Nepal has been promoted as the best investment destination in the world, through the Summit, he claimed. (RSS)

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