ISLAMABAD: The fiscal year 2023 was not very different from the previous many years as the external account recorded a dismal performance owing to increased debt repayment, dwindling reserves and falling exports.
The government’s only solace lay in its success in curtailing the import bill but decreased exports and poor remittance collection significantly offset any gains on that front, according to the Economic Survey 2022-23 released on Thursday.
Exports fell by 9.8 per cent during Jul-Mar FY2023 to $21 billion. The quantum in the corresponding period last year was $23.3bn.
Textiles recorded the greatest fall of 12.4pc, from $14.2bn in FY22 to $12.47bn in the current fiscal year till March. The export of cotton yarn dipped by 37pc from $908m to $573m.
The overall export of food items dropped by 3.4pc, from $3.94 to $3.81bn. The exports of fruits saw the steepest decline with 42.6 pc; from $394.5m to $226.4m. Similarly, the exports of rice fell by 10.9pc, vegetables by 5.5p and species by 12.4pc.
CAD shrinks from $13bn to $3.4bn
These government’s measures to cut import improved the current account balance by 74.1pc from a deficit of $13bn to $3.4bn during Jul-Mar FY2023.
The total imports during Jul-Mar, FY2023 stood at $43.7bn compared to $58.9 billion in the same period last year, a dip of 25.7pc.
The impact of floods also offset the imports target as cotton production fell to 4.91m bales during FY2023, compared to 8.3m bales last year, forcing the government to import the commodity to meet the domestic requirement of around 15m bales.
The survey stated that from July 2022 to Mar 2023, the quantum of remittances registered a decrease of 10.8pc and stood at $20.5bn against $23bn in the same period last year.
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2023