ISLAMABAD: The imports of the country increased by 15.10 percent in the last fiscal year, touching a record high of $60.898 billion compared to $52.910 billion in the same period last year.
The country’s exports slightly enhanced by 14 per cent in the last fiscal year to $23.228 billion compared to $20.422 billion in the same period last year.
Exports increased as per market expectations, but the imports are still out of control despite all measures taken by the government.
The government machinery including the ministry of commerce had used all tactics to overcome the country’s import by imposing huge taxes on 731 items, but they failed to control imports.
The trade deficit of the country stood at $37.670 billion in FY18 compared to $32.488 billion in the same period of FY17.
The previous government had originally forecast the deficit for FY18 to be in the region of $25.7 billion and in April it was revised upwards to $29.4 billion.
Ironically, the final trade deficit figure was $12 billion over what was originally projected by the Ministry of Finance.
These latest figures have heightened worries about the long-term viability of the external sector, which the previous PML-N government maintained by getting loans from commercial banks and foreign countries.
Experts believe cheap imports from China are also impacting import-substitution industries.
Due to widening trade deficit, Pakistan’s balance of payments is forecast to deteriorate to levels never imagined by the finance ministry.
Also, the current account deficit is projected to surpass the $16 billion mark, which was recorded in May 2018 of FY18.
The import bill couldn’t be reined in even after three round of devaluations, but it added Rs1.190 trillion in public debt as per Director General Debt Office’s statistics.
And in real terms, imports were $8 billion higher than last year.
For June, the trade deficit rose 46.1 percent compared to June 2018 and this was largely because of record imports worth $5.7 billion, revealed PBS data.
The trade deficit for June 2018 was recorded at $3.8 trillion, which was $1.2 billion more than the deficit in June 2017.
During June, imports witnessed a 26.2 percent rise, touching $1.9 billion against exports which recorded a 1 percent fall to only $1.9 billion.