Per capita external debt doubles in 7 years

Rejaul Karim Byron and Jamil Mahmud

The country's per capita external debt currently stands at more than double from what was seven years ago as both public and private sector foreign loans have seen an increase by this time.

According to Bangladesh Bank statistics, in 2021-2022, per capita foreign debt was $558 which was $482 in the previous fiscal year.

On the other hand, in fiscal year 2015-2016, the country's per capita foreign debt was $257.

Last fiscal year, the country's total external debt was $95.23 billion, which was $41.17 billion in 2015-2016.

A finance ministry official said over more than a decade now the government has been implementing several mega projects under foreign financing including the Rooppur power plant, Dhaka metro rail, Matarbari deep sea port and power plant, and Karnaphuli tunnel.

Of these, the foreign loan for the Rooppur power plant project is about $12 billion.

As a result, foreign loans saw a sharp increase in recent years, he added.

The official said Bangladesh however was still below the threshold of International Monetary Fund's public sector debt to the GDP ratio.

There is no risk in taking foreign loans of up to 40 per cent of the GDP, he added.

In 2021-2022, the public sector external debt to GDP ratio was 14.9 per cent, according to the central bank data.



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