#FactCheck: Did Imran really leave $22b foreign exchange reserves

Trolls exploit people’s lack of economic understanding
Apr 13, 2022

Populist prime minister Imran Khan was ousted on Saturday and since then there seems to be a virtual war going on between the followers of Imran Khan and the incoming government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

What is worrisome is that trolls are exploiting the people’s lack of understanding of the economy and twisting the facts to fit their respective narratives.

In this regard, followers of both the PTI and PML-N are fighting over the figures for foreign reserves.

Former state minister and PTI leader Farrukh Habib shared a post on Twitter with the caption that Imran Khan is the first prime minister to leave behind $22 billion in the national exchequer.

This was contested by many including journalist Shahbaz Rana, who regularly reports on economy, pointing out that Imran Khan left behind official foreign reserves worth $11.3 billion.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan, total foreign reserves as of April 1, a week before Imran Khan was ousted, stood at $17.48 billion.

However, out of $17.48b, approximately $6.15b reserves are with the commercial banks. This leaves $11.319 billion which is held by the State Bank of Pakistan.

This $11.3 billion is not exclusively owned by the SBP. Of these, seven billion dollars are given to Pakistan by Saudi Arabia, China and UAE to keep its foreign reserves stable. If we take these out this money, it leaves Pakistan with reserves of just over $4 billion.

On the other hand, some PTI followers have also been blaming the no-confidence motion by the opposition for depleting foreign reserves. They say that reserves which stood at $22.6 billion at the start of March have come down to $17.4b as of April 1.

Their rivals, however, claim that this downward trend began in August 2021.

Imran Khan

foreign exchange reserves


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