Foreign debt at historic high, crosses $100b-mark

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Bangladesh has witnessed its foreign debt crossing the $100 billion mark for the first time to stand at $100.64 billion.

The latest figure is up by $4.12 billion in comparison to the $96.52 billion recorded in December 2022, according to a Bangladesh Bank report released on Thursday.

The figure includes both government and private sector borrowings.

There has been a steep rise in foreign debt throughout the last eight years. The debt was recorded at $41.17 billion in fiscal year 2015-16, and it rose to $98.11 billion in 2022-23, effectively doubling within the timeframe.

Now, the per capita debt stands at $592 as the population count in Bangladesh is now 169.8 million as per the latest census. The figure was $574 in June last year, and $257 in 2015-16.

Around 79 per cent of the total external debt is in the public sector, while the private sector accounts for the remaining 21 per cent. As of December, the public sector's foreign debt was $79.69 billion, and that of the private sector was $20.95 billion.

The majority of foreign debt is sourced from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and countries like Japan, China, Russia, and India, and is spent for implementation of different projects.