- Federal Cabinet in its previous meeting expressed concerns at the 'extraordinary' growth in imports and directed to constantly monitor them to keep the current account deficit at a manageable level
ISLAMABAD: Commerce Ministry is reportedly holding other ministries responsible for unprecedented growth in imports due to which the country's Current Account Deficit (CAD) is increasing each month.
The Federal Cabinet in its previous meeting had expressed concerns at the "extraordinary" growth in imports and directed to constantly monitor imports to keep the current account deficit at a manageable level.
Well informed sources told Business Recorder that Commerce Ministry argues that since provinces and concerned ministries maintain that they do not need more wheat and sugar, then why is it being pushed to import these commodities.
According to sources, at a recent high level meeting, the ministries concerned openly opposed the import of sugar and wheat but Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin insisted on import of these commodities on the plea that although the stock position was satisfactory, it would be prudent to have some strategic reserves in case of any eventuality.
On October 4, 2021, Commerce Ministry did not release import figures fearing it will attract criticism.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (BPS) released provisional foreign trade figures, which indicate an increase of over 100 per cent in trade deficit during the first quarter of current fiscal year.
"Imports are being analysed in consultation with other government departments and would be released shortly," said Commerce Ministry's press official.
Commerce Ministry officials further argue that neither are the prices of LNG, POL in its control nor it has asked the government to import wheat and sugar.
"The import bill of LNG, POL products, wheat and sugar has increased the imports, which has worsened the trade balance," the sources continued.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021