The latest trade deficit on account of our international trade (import/export) released on June 11 by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics for 11 months period (July 2011 to May 2012) is frightening. Total imports for a 11-month period amounted to $40.93 billion against exports of $21.5 billion, resulting in a huge negative trade gap of $19.43 billion. The trade deficit is 47.47 per cent, say almost 50 per cent, of the total import bill. This means our country is importing double than what we are exporting. This level of trade deficit is unsustainable and is not seen in any neighbouring country in the region.

The trade deficit has been on the rise ever since this government came into power. Despite ballooning trade deficit, which is dangerously high, we never hear anything from our trade minister. He has never showed his concern, telling the nation reasons for such high trade deficit and government plan to reverse this negative trend of trade. This huge trade deficit is causing deficit in our balance of payment account which in turn is eroding value of Pakistani rupee. One the one hand, we have this deficit in external account, which is causing inflation due to depreciation of Pakistani rupee. On the other hand, we have budget deficit or fiscal deficit which increases money supply and results in inflation.

The country’s economic managers must come forward and tell the public their plan to control these twin deficits — current account deficit and budget deficit. Opposition leaders should also engage themselves in stressing on the government on all forums to address these twin deficit issues which are causing hyper inflation and making lives of millions of people miserable. There should be public debates and follow up on these twin deficit problems. If not addressed, then these deficits will affect the fabric of our society.


Lahore, July 3.