ISLAMAAD - Pakistan's trade deficit widened by over 18 percent during July this year as against in the corresponding month last year due to continuous decline in exports and non-stop increase in imports.

The country's trade imbalance was recorded at $2.08 billion during the first month of the ongoing financial year as compared to $1.76 billion in the same month last year, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released on Wednesday.

Pakistan's exports once again tumbled by 6.86 percent to $1.48 billion in July 2016 from $1.59 billion in July 2015.

However, as like in the past, the country's imports have been constantly increasing despite massive decline in oil import bill.  The country spent $3.56 billion on imports during the period under review as against $3.35 billion in the same month of the year 2015, showing an increase of 6.24 percent. The country's exports could not be enhanced despite several measures announced by the government for the purpose.

The government announced several measures in the last budget to increase exports, which included zero-rated facility for five export-oriented sectors: textile, leather, sports goods, surgical goods and carpets.

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Nisar Muhammad Khan has already admitted in front of a parliamentary committee that announcement of zero-rated regime for five export-oriented sectors would have no role in their growth.

Earlier, the exporters would blame the absence of zero-rated regime as one of the major reasons for decline in exports. However, the chairman said there were several other reasons, including crunch in international market, low investment, shortage of skilled labour and non-availability of gas and electricity.

According to the PBS figures, exports reduced by 10.42 percent to $1.48 billion during July 2016 from $1.65 billion in the preceding month (June).

Meanwhile, the imports went down by 20.37 percent to $3.56 billion in July 2016 from $4.47 billion in June this year.

­Therefore, trade deficit was registered at $2.08 billion during July 2016 as against $2.82 billion in the corresponding month of the last year, showing an increase of 26.21percent.