November brought a rise of 162.4 per cent in the country’s trade deficit, primarily driven by a significant increase in the national import bill.
The negative trend in the trade deficit was seen for the fifth consecutive month as it reached $5.107bn in November against $1.946bn in the corresponding month last year.
As per the provisional data released on Wednesday, November saw the highest trade deficit witnessed in a single month in terms of value.
Since December last year, the trade gap has been growing, mainly led by slow growth in exports and exponential growth in imports. In July-November 2021, the import bill surged by 71.59pc to $33.111bn over last year’s corresponding period.
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The Ministry of Finance said that growth in export proceeds, an increase in remittances, and Roshan Digital Accounts would help combat the pressure of an increased import bill to a large extent.
On the other hand, exports posted a spike of 27pc to $12.365bn in July-November 2021. In November 2021, exports grew by 33pc to $2.903bn compared to $2.174bn in November last year.
In a tweet, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood shared data of Pakistan’s growth in terms of exports in November to show a positive image of his government.
Dawood said the surge in export proceeds in November was historic, adding that the export target for November was $2.6bn.
He said the target for the first five months of the current fiscal year was $12.2bn.
It merits mentioning that the highest-ever surge in imports made the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) collect maximum revenue at the import stage — withholding tax, sales tax, and customs duty. However, Pakistan’s battle against the bloated trade deficit would pressure the external side because of an all-time high import bill.