KATHMANDU, Feb 21: Nepal’s imports which had remained comparatively low for the past few months owing to the measures implemented to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country have now started to rise compared to the slow export growth.
Records maintained by the Department of Customs (DoC) show that the country’s import grew by 0.01 percent to Rs 803.64 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal year. During mid-July 2020 and mid-January 2021, the growth rate of imports was minus 5.80 percent, with import volume totaling Rs 661.24 billion.
It shows that the country imported goods worth Rs 142.40 billion in the last month alone. According to the officials of DoC, the import has started to rise along with the falling cases of coronavirus infections and increasing number of people being inoculated against the pandemic.
The landlocked country received some respite with the slowed import mainly after the spread of the COVID-19. But the government authorities have been taking credit for that, claiming that it became possible due to effective government policies. The government’s claim seems to be a failure if the DoC’s statistics are anything to consider, say experts.
According to the DoC, imports figure surged also on the back of an increasing purchasing of petroleum products. Nepal imported petroleum products worth Rs 7 billion just in the last month.
Although the growth rate of export earnings in the country stood at 7.61 percent during the review period, it has nominal impacts on the gains from trade because of small export volume. Last month, Nepal’s exports increased only by Rs 9.12 billion to Rs 69.91 billion.
With the widening gap in imports and exports, the country’s trade deficit declined by mere 0.66 percent to Rs 733.72 billion. Until last month, the growth rate of the trade deficit was minus 5.80 percent.