Despite slump in capital machinery import, country’s overall import payments rose by 6.96 per cent in July-October due to a sharp increase in food grains imports amid a shortage of rice on the local market.
According to Bangladesh Bank data released on Thursday, the overall import payments increased to $16.19 billion in July-October of FY18 against $15.14 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Payments for food grains imports increased by 124.25 per cent to $874.68 million in July-October against $390.05 million in the corresponding period of FY17.
Rice import by the country substantially rose in the period amid crop losses, mainly boro paddy, in the flash floods in the country’s north-eastern haor areas and depleting public stocks as well as rising prices of staple in the domestic market.
Import of capital machinery dropped by 16.87 per cent to $1.74 during July-October against $2.09 billion, in the corresponding period of FY17.
On the other hand, import of industrial raw materials, mainly meant for readymade garment factories, increased by 7.20 per cent during July-October to $5.7 billion from that of $5.3 billion a year ago, the BB data showed.
Import of petroleum grew by 23.64 per cent to $872.26 million during July-October, while the amount was $705.49 million in the same period in the previous fiscal year.
Former finance adviser to the interim government Mirza Azizul Islam told New Age that the food grains import continued as there was still shortage of grains in the country because of the recent floods in the country.
He said that the fall in import of capital machinery indicated about two things — there was less investment in the private sector and no immediate expansion of business in the country.
The former adviser said that there was unusual increase in the capital machinery last year which hinted at fishy activities like money laundering.
The decrease of payment this time indicates that the National Board of Revenue is keeping a strict eye on the import of capital machinery to check fraudulent activities, he added.
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