The government has spent a big amount on the import of food items during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. The items like wheat, sugar, edible oil, tea, and pulses were imported in huge quantity, taking the import bill at $6.899 billion. The growth, as such, is 53.93%.
The main import items in this list have been wheat and sugar which were imported to bridge the shortfall in domestic production of related agriculture products. The increase in import bills triggered the trade deficit.
According the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the share of food items in the total import bill comes to 15.41% as compared to 11.79% during the same period last year. The trade deficit is continuously widening due to a continuous increase in the import bill and the import bill is on the rising side due to the increasing share of food items in it.
The ballooned import bill of eatables
Apart from the share of food items in the import bill, the share of other items shows that there has been a shortage of production in the country.
There was a growth of 36.44% for the import of palm oil, the value of which comes to $2.14 billion during the first 10 months of this financial year as compared to $1.57 billion during the same period last year. The import of soya bean oil increased by 35.7% in value and 28.5% in quantity.
Pakistanis faced a high rise in the prices of ghee and cooking oil during recent months. 3.612 million tons of wheat, costing $983.326 million during the first nine months was imported, surprisingly against no import last year. The government did not import wheat during the last month, keeping in view the bumper wheat crop this year.
The heavy quantity of wheat during the nine months of this financial year was imported to bridge the shortfall in the domestic production of wheat last year and also to stabilize the price of wheat and flour. The quantity of sugar, imported was 280,377 tons during the first 10 months of last fiscal year as compared to 5,866 tons last year.
In April, 773 tons of sugar were imported as compared to 1,115 tons in April last year which shows a decrease of 30.67%. The import of tea was increased by 13.64% during the same period. The import of pulses, dry fruits, milk, etc. also increased substantially.