ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s import bill of oil and eatables increased by over 22pc in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year over the last year because of high domestic consumption and surge in oil prices in the international market.
In absolute term, the import bill of these two products climbed to $18.576 billion in July-May period this year from $15.18 billion during the same period last year, suggested data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.
Consequently, the overall import bill reached $40.932 billion during the period under review as against $36.551 billion, showing an increase of over 11.99pc.
This shows that less than half of the total import bill was consumed by import of these two commodities in 11 months.
Statistics showed the oil import bill reached $13.937 billion in July-May this year as against $10.467 billion over the last year, indicating an increase of 33.15 per cent.
Of these, the import of crude oil was up by 6.49 per cent to $4.574 billion during July-May period as against $4.296 billion last year.
This suggests a rising oil demand in the domestic market as the quantity of crude oil import also witnessed an increase of 10.69pc during the period. This will increase further following the import of oil for transport purposes the CNG prices were increased to make it less attractive for consumers.
The import of petroleum products reached $9.362 billion in July-May, down by 51.71 per cent from $6.171 billion last year. The increase indicates that domestic refineries have not improved their refining capacity.
The government has projected the import of oil bill at $15.287 billion for the year 2012-13. However, this is a very conservative projection as the oil import bill will cross this figure next year because of high consumption in domestic market.
On the other hand, the import bill of food products reached to $4.639 billion in July-May period this year as against $4.713 billion over the corresponding period last year, showing a marginal decline of 1.56 per cent.
The food items import was mainly driven by import of palm oil in July-May period this year. Statistics show that import of palm oil was up by 16.01pc to $2.131 billion during July-May as against $1.837 billion earlier.
An increase of over 20pc was witnessed in the quantity of palm oil during the period under review. The import of milk products witnessed an increase of 2.8 per cent, tea 5.6 percent, and all other food items 27.92 percent in July-May period this year over the last year.