My Republica, August 25, 2020
KATHMANDU: Nepal’s import expenditure went down by 19.6% in the first month of the current fiscal year, following a fall in economic activities amid a rising spread of COVID-19.
According to the Department of Customs, Nepal imported goods worth Rs 85.80 billion during mid-July and mid-August, compared to the import bills of Rs 106.72 billion in the same period last year. It also had an impact on the ratio of import to export which declined to 8.92 from 12.08. It means that for every export earnings of Re 1, the country spent Rs 8.92 for importing goods.
According to the officials of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, the significant drop in import bills was due to the adverse impact of faster growth in the number of coronavirus cases inside the country. According to the government records, the number of coronavirus patients until mid-July stood at around 17,000, which jumped to over 26,000 by mid-August. Similarly, the number of deaths also soared from 39 to more than 100 during the one-month period under review.
The country mainly imports goods related to daily consumption, industrial raw materials and logistics used for infrastructure construction. Citing an upsurge in the threat of coronavirus, many provincial and local governments imposed restriction measures in the to contain coronavirus, taking down largely the economic activities.
During the review period, Nepal imported petroleum products worth Rs 8.84 billion, the largest of all. It was followed by electric goods worth Rs 8.29 billion, cereals worth Rs 6.62 billion and iron and steel worth Rs 6.54 billion.
The export on the other hand increased by 8.86 percent to Rs 9.62 billion. Nepal exported fat and oil worth Rs 2.30 billion, followed by tea and coffee worth Rs 1.36 billion, woolen carpets worth Rs 723.5 million and yarn worth Rs 564.8 million.
As a result of a double-digit fall in import expenses accompanied by a rise in export, there was a dramatic fall of 22 percent in the trade deficit. Nepal was successful in reducing the trade deficit to Rs 76.18 billion in the first month of the current fiscal year from Rs 97.88 billion in the first month of the last fiscal year.