ISLAMABAD: The federal government refused on Tuesday to disclose details of loans exceeding Rs5 million obtained from a state-run bank in the past five years, but admitted that loans of Rs360 billion were given, of which Rs271 billion were still outstanding.

“The names of persons/ companies who obtained loans from the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) is private information of borrowers and is protected under Section 33 A of the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962 and Section 9 of Protection of Economic Reform Act, 1992,” reads a written apply by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar submitted in Senate, in response to questions posed by Chaudhary Tanvir Khan.

Khan, a Senator from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), sought the names of persons/companies who obtained loans of Rs5 million or more from the NBP and the number of cases in which the loans were repaid and those that were waived.

According to the federal finance minister, no loan was written off by the government between July 2011 and June 2016.

Of the total amount disbursed during the period in question, Rs271 billion were outstanding, including regular loans of Rs216 billion and non-performing loans (NPL) of Rs55 billion, the minister stated in the reply.

In July this year, the federal government came under fire when it was revealed in the Senate that over the past 30 years, hundreds of private companies got their bank loans – in excess of Rs50 million – waived while during the incumbent government’s tenure, banks wrote off loans worth more than Rs280 billion.

In a written reply dated July 22, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had stated that as many as 400 corporate enterprises had got their loans written off in the past 30 years.

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