Staff Correspondent: Bangladesh’s imports grew by 6.03 per cent in fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 following higher imports of construction materials as intermediate goods, officials said.
The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) rose to $54.64 billion in the July-June period from $51.53 billion a year before, according to the central bank’s latest data.
A senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said the overall import may increase slightly this fiscal year following implementation of mega projects like Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
Actually, imports increased with a decreasing trend in the outgoing fiscal mainly due to lower imports of consumer goods, particularly food grains, the central banker explained.
The growth of imports was 11.39 per cent in FY ‘18.
This rising trend in the imports of construction materials along with fuel oils may continue this fiscal, he also predicted.
He said various construction materials imported as intermediate goods for projects, particularly the mega ones, pushed up the overall import expenses in FY ‘19.
“It’s moderate import growth,” Syed Mahbubur Rahman, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, said while explaining the overall import trend in last fiscal.
Mr Rahman, also managing director and chief executive officer of Dhaka Bank Limited, said the overall import may rise slightly in the ongoing fiscal following execution of different mega projects, particularly the ones in power sector.
Meanwhile, imports of intermediate goods like coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessel jumped by 34.50 per cent to $5.53 billion in FY ‘19 from $4.11 billion in FY ‘18.
Mega infrastructure projects, including Padma Bridge, Dhaka Metro Rail and Dhaka Elevated Expressway, are consuming the lion’s share of such goods, according to BB officials.
Even imports for nuclear power plant also pushed up the overall import expense in last fiscal, they stated.
Bangladesh has so far settled import payment obligations worth $1.58 billion for importing multiple products for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the BB data showed.
The central bank officials also cited higher imports of petroleum products, including liquefied natural gas, as factors in the higher import spending in FY ‘19.
Imports of fuel oil increased by 11.69 per cent to $3.74 billion in last fiscal year from $3.35 billion a year before, the official figures showed.
According to the officials, fuel oil imports may rise further in FY ‘20 mainly due to the diversified use of gasoline products, particularly for power generation.
Industrial raw material imports also rose by 4.61 per cent to $19.06 billion in FY ‘19 from $18.22 billion in the previous fiscal. On the other hand, imports of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production, fell by 9.43 per cent to $4.67 billion from $5.16 billion in FY ‘18.
However, imports of food grains, particularly rice and wheat, dropped by nearly 52 per cent to $1.45 billion from $3.0 billion.
Consumer goods imports also slumped by nearly 25 per cent to $6.02 billion in FY ‘19 from $7.58 billion in FY ‘18.
However, the opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, fell by 16.81 per cent to $57.75 billion in FY ‘19 from $69.42 billion a year ago.
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