Allowing unnecessary imports push trade deficit to new heights

BUSINESS

Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders on Tuesday said liberal import policy has pushed trade deficit to new heights creating serious problems for the country.

Regulating unnecessary imports could have helped the country save billions of dollars which would have helped the government, it said.

Now, the government should immediately slap tariff and non-tariff barriers on useless imports to save the foreign exchange reserves which are depleting at a fast pace, said Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt.

Unabated imports resulted in a bill of over 55 billion dollars in the eleven months of 2017-18 which shook the foundations of the economy.

Imports during this period remained 21.35 billion dollars enough to pay for 38.7 percent of the import bill and leaving a huge deficit, he added.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that country imported petroleum products worth 13 billion dollars while 19.3 percent of the import bills went to machinery and import of agricultural and chemical products grabbed 14.7 percent share.

The business leader said that cotton imports remained 915 million dollars while edibles worth 5.72 billion dollars were imported in which edible oil and tea remained prominent.

Pakistan despite being top milk producer imported milk and its products 252 million dollars. Import of pulses remained 483 million dollars.

He said that the import of petroleum products and machinery etc. are necessary but the food group imports can be controlled which will reduce demand for the dollar.

The government should encourage local production of food and other products to cut the import bill, he demanded.