ISLAMABAD: Imports of top 30 items surged by over 142 per cent year-on-year in November due to higher prices of commodities mainly petroleum on international market and depreciation of the rupee, a senior official told Dawn.
The import bill of energy, steel and industrial raw materials posted growth, while high import of vaccines also contributed significantly to the rise in the November import bill from a year ago.
The total import value of these 30 products in November reached Rs696.346bn from Rs287.131bn over the corresponding month of last year, registering a growth of 142.52pc.
The share of these products in total imports stood at over 53pc.
Govt blames high global prices for massive rise
The country’s overall imports also rose by 98pc to Rs1.362 trillion in November against Rs686bn in the corresponding month last year.
In the top 30 imports items, the major contribution came from motor spirit (petrol) which increased by 279.54pc to Rs102.697bn in November from Rs27.058bn last year, followed by petroleum and oils obtained from bitumen by 131.76pc to Rs75.455bn and high-speed diesel 266.39pc to Rs57.234bn against Rs15.621bn over the last year.
The import of LNG also went up by 101.94pc to Rs72.372bn against Rs35.837bn over last year. The increase in LNG prices coupled with the massive depreciation of the rupee increased its import cost in November.
The import of bituminous coal also increased by 120.36pc to Rs41.339bn against Rs18.760bn over the last year. Coal is used in multiple industries including steel, electricity etc. A massive increase was seen in the import value of palm oil and palm olein.
The import value of palm oil increased to Rs33.611bn in November from Rs11.788bn last year, a growth of 185.12pc while import of palm olein edged up by 60.74pc to Rs29.056bn from Rs18.076bn last year.
In November, the government spent Rs31.482bn on the import of vaccines against Rs3.602bn last year. The vaccines were imported to vaccinate people against Covid-19 while the focus of the drive was shifted to schools with children aged 12 years and above.
The government imported sugar worth Rs12.654bn in November against Rs4.098bn over last year, indicating a growth of 208pc. The import of phosphoric acid surged by 8,509pc to Rs14.995bn this year against Rs174.18m over the last year.
The import of wind-powered machinery equipment stood at Rs7.349bn against no import over the corresponding month of last year.
The import of furnace oil posted growth of 243pc to Rs6.457bn in November for power generation against Rs1.881bn last year. This massive increase is because of LNG shortfall in the country.
Similarly, the import of vehicles in CKD/SKD conditions reached Rs30.152bn in November from Rs7.878bn over the corresponding month last year, an increase of 282.7pc.
The LPG import also witnessed an increase of 78.63pc to Rs9.320bn against Rs5.217bn over the last year. A massive increase was noted in imports of raw materials and chemicals used in several industries.
Meanwhile, Finance Adviser Shaukat Tarin chaired a meeting to review and discuss the import bill for the first five months (July-November) of 2021-22.
The meeting was informed that the pressure on import bill was mainly due to global high commodity prices especially energy, steel, and industrial raw materials.
The forum also noted that high import of vaccines contributed significantly to the rise in import bill.
Moreover, it was informed that there will be less import of food items, furnace oil and vaccine in the coming months that will significantly reduce the pressure on trade bill in the second half of the current fiscal year.
Mr Tarin directed authorities to take effective policy measures to reduce unnecessary imports of luxury items.
National Food Security Minister Fakhar Imam, Industries and Production Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, and federal secretaries attended the meeting.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2021