Oil import bill drops 16pc to $8.9 billion in nine months
Oil imports fell 16 percent to $8.9 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year of 2019/20 as measures taken to bring the economy on stability path took toll on economic activities, official data showed.
Imports of petroleum products stood at $10.6 billion in the corresponding period a year earlier, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics’ (PBS) data showed.
Trade and industrial activities scrambled to keep up in the wake of subdued consumer demand over the last one and half years with growth having slowed down at 3.3 percent last fiscal year from 5.5 percent a year earlier.
The prospect is neither bright for the staggering economy as the pandemic-driven lockdown played havoc with both domestic and international economies. This also militated against the benefits of great oil fall.
In March alone, oil imports, the big ticket import, dropped 33 percent year-on-year and 39 percent month-on-month to $668,329 million. Reuters said oil prices crashed more than 65 percent in the first quarter, the most on record.
Pakistan’s economy raced up to mess with the transition of political system and whatever economic gains made over the years faded out due to inefficient economic management.
Energy woes that were addressed after injection of 10,000 megawatts into the system are set to resurface as structural weaknesses couldn’t be controlled.
PBS data showed that import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) dropped around seven percent to $2.2 billion in the July-March period. LNG transformed the energy production and power outages became history within three to four years. Gas imports saved Pakistan around $5 billion over the last five years, after it substituted the expensive oil imports.
Since 2015 over 19 million tons of LNG has been imported. The terminals have pumped approximately 393.6 billion cubic feet/day of gas into the national gas distribution network in 2019, a 14 percent increase compared with 345.6 billion cubic feet in 2018. There are two re-gasification LNG terminals existing in the country. The third terminal has existed on papers for last one year or so with LNG import entrapped into political jugglery.
Big industry output shrank 3.03 percent in July-February FY2020 from a year ago. In 2018/19, large scale manufacturing sector declined 3.64 percent versus a target growth of 8.1 percent.
Passenger car sales in the July-March period dropped by 46.8 percent to 85,330 units compared to 160,359 units sold during the corresponding period last year.