As per data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics released on Wednesday, the country’s trade deficit widened year-on-year basis by 106.4% to $25.478 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year.
Pakistan has been facing the acute condition of trade deficit for the consecutive six months due to the rising trend of the imports. The exports remained at the level of $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion per month. On the other side, Abdul Razak Dawood, the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce said that there are indications that the growth in imports had started to decline.
In the month of December, the imports came down by $1 billion to $6.9 billion against $7.9 billion during the previous month, whereas the import projection for December was $6.2 billion. The merchandise trade deficit increased by 85.38 percent year-on-year to $4.857 billion in December. Month-on-month basis the trade deficit, however, came down by 2.8 percent.
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However, the rising trend of imports caused the enhancement of revenue for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in the form of sales tax, withholding tax, and customs duty. During the fiscal year 2017-18, the trade deficit had reached the highest level which touched the figure of $37.7 billion. Due to the in-time measures of the government, in the next fiscal year, it squeezed to $31.8 billion and in the fiscal year 2019-20, it further decreased to $23.183 billion.
But during the last fiscal year, the trade deficit again went up to $30.796 billion and it is likely that it may go further high by the end of the current fiscal year. The import bill during the first six months of the current fiscal year enhanced by 65.94 percent to $40.580 billion as compared to $24.454 billion during the same period, last year.
In December 2021, the import bill touched the figure of $7.597 billion as compared to $4.986 billion during this month in 2020, depicting the rise of 52.37 percent. In the fiscal year 2020-21, the import bill moved high by 25.8 percent to $56.091 billion as compared to $44.574 billion during the previous fiscal year.
The exports also witnessed an increase of 24.71 percent during the first six months of the current fiscal year to a $15.102 billion year-on-year basis. During the month of December, the exports moved up by 15.8 percent to $2.740 billion as compared to $2.366 billion during this month, last year.
However, month-on-month basis, the exports came down by 5.55 percent in December. The exports to Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, etc. witnessed an increasing trend.