Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh’s overall import orders for industrial sectors grew marginally in the first eight months of the current fiscal year (FY), 2012-13, as political turmoil has gripped the country ahead of the upcoming general election, officials and bankers said.
Opening of letters of credit (LCs), generally known as import orders, for industrial sectors raised by 0.39 percent to US$16.810 billion in the July-February period of the FY 13 from $16.741 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank statistics.
“It’s not bad considering the ongoing political turmoil along with the global financial meltdown,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said, adding that the overall import may decrease, if the prevailing confrontational political situation continues.
The import orders for capital machinery increased by 13.26 percent during the period under review, while import of intermediate goods grew by only 2.57 percent.
The import orders for capital machinery rose to $1.667 billion in the first eight months of the FY 13 from $1.471 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
The import of intermediate goods reached $2.066 billion in the July-February period of the current fiscal from $2.015 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.
“The import orders for capital machinery, particularly for textile, garment, power generation and pharmaceuticals, increased in the period under review to meet the growing demand for the machinery,” a senior official of a leading private commercial bank (PCB) said, adding that the import of capital machinery will increase in line with the country’s overall economic activities.
The import of industrial raw materials decreased by 1.51 percent to $9.319 billion from $9.461 billion. The import of machinery for miscellaneous industries came down to $2.204 billion from $2.235 billion, the BB data showed.
Another private banker said most of the entrepreneurs are closely observing the current political situation now and following a ‘go-slow’ strategy to avoid financial risks.
“Political unrest sparked by the verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) and the issue of the ‘caretaker government’ discouraged the businessmen from importing different commodities during the period under review,” the banker noted.
He also said weak infrastructural facilities and inadequate gas and power supply have also discouraged the entrepreneurs to invest.
BBN/SSR/AD-10Apr13-9:54 am (BST)