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Govt takes exception to reporting on external borrowing data

Govt takes exception to reporting on external borrowing data

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Finance has taken a strong exception to a news report published in Daily Express Tribune and Daily Express insinuating and portraying a situation of clash between two government departments over the government’s foreign borrowing during July-Dec 2019 period.

In an official statement, Finance Division spokesperson has described the reporting by both newspapers as being unethical and against the canons of professional journalism as their reports twist and paint a straightforward clarification issued by Finance Division on 25th January 2020 over government’s net foreign borrowing of US$ 1.7 billion in the July-Dec 2019 period, as rejection of data of another government department which was not even mentioned in the Ministry’s clarification.

The Spokesperson has maintained that the clarification issued by the Finance Division was only related to misreporting in a section of the media of gross external debt inflows which did not take into account outflows on account of repayments, and thereby presented only one side of the picture. The Ministry had clarified that “whereas the reported gross disbursement is US$ 5.5 billion during Jul – Dec 2019, deducting the US$ 3.8 billion which the government paid back during the said period leaves a net figure of US$ 1.7 billion … therefore, the real addition was US$ 1.7 billion, not US$ 5.5 billion as claimed by a section of the press”.

Hence, the reporter has attempted to create a situation of so-called rift between two government departments and rejection of data by Finance Division of another government division whose input was duly taken in the Finance Division’s clarification, which is unethical and against the canons of professional journalism, said the statement.