Early figures for the country’s export bill show a decrease in the trade deficit by roughly 15 percent, which is remarkable, and implies that the policy of the government regarding international trade is bearing some fruit at last. A decrease in the deficit amid decreasing exports is only possible through the government’s taxation efforts in curtailing the use of non-essential luxury goods produced outside the country, and while the high tax rates led to an outcry among many sections of the public, the government’s decision is already being vindicated if the early numbers are anything to go by.

However, merely reducing the import bill by reducing the use of non-essential luxury items will not help in increasing growth in the country; floundering exports need to be increased consistently if the government is going to manage to execute its promise of ending the country’s reliance on loans and bailouts to keep the economy afloat. There are some mechanisms in play that will help achieve this – waiving duties off raw materials and machinery needed to produce finished products is one example that is already in play. However, while potential exporters are being incentivised to buy more raw materials to increase production, other policy decisions such as removing the zero-rated regime on export commodities might prove to be significant stumbling blocks in the effort to promote growth in the country.

This has to be the ultimate focus of the state – decreasing imports would not be necessary if the outgoing commodities are sold in more volume than the goods coming into the country. The export sector continues to be a stumbling block for growth in the country, and the manufacturing sector as a whole cannot contend with international competition unless their energy demands are met, production costs are kept to a minimum and the state reduces the many barriers to entry that currently exist in the sector.

Increasing the export bill is not easy to achieve however and is often a gradual process. The move to reduce imports is one that can be executed with a limited time delay; structural changes to increase production in the country will take years to achieve. It is hoped that the positive numbers spur the government on and lead to more focus on exports. The business community in the country must be supported by the state in the bid to increase production, and with the initial positive figures regarding imported goods, we can only hope that we continue to see such improvements in the long run as well.