Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The country’s overall imports grew by more than 10 per cent in the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 because of higher capital machinery import, officials said.

“The overall imports may increase further in the current fiscal year because of rising trend in food grains import,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka while explaining the latest situation on imports.

The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) grew by 10.47 per cent to US$ 44.27 billion during the July-June period of FY 17 from $40.08 billion in the same period of the previous FY.

On the other hand, opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, rose by 11.05 per cent to $48.12 billion in the FY 17 from $43.33 billion in the previous fiscal, according to the central bank latest statistics.

He also said the central bank has already relaxed its policies to encourage imports for importing more rice to meet the growing demand for the essential in the local markets.

Under the relaxations, the banks are now allowed to open LCs against deferred or usance basis or under buyer’s credit up to 90 days term for import of rice may be issued till December 31, 2017.

The central bank had also the banks to open LCs for importing rice with zero-margin on the basis of bank-client relationship.

However, import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production — was up by 37.39 per cent to $4.85 billion in FY 17 as against $3.53 billion of the previous fiscal, the BB data showed.

Higher import for sectors including, energy and power, textile, leather and tannery, garment industry, pharmaceutical, telecom industry and ship building have contributed to raise the overall capital machinery import in the last fiscal, according to the central banker.

He also said the upward trend in capital machinery import might continue in the coming months due to implementation of different ongoing infrastructure development projects in the country.

Currently, the government is implementing nine projects under a Fast Track Project Monitoring Committee, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Meanwhile, the import of intermediate goods, like – coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels, increased by 11.05 per cent to $3.72 billion in the FY 17 from $3.35 billion in the FY 16.

The import of industrial raw materials rose by 3.52 per cent to $16.22 billion in the FY 17 from $15.67 billion a year ago.

Besides, import of machinery for miscellaneous industries witnessed a 7.25 per cent growth to $4.62 billion in the last fiscal from $4.30 billion of the previous FY.

On the other hand, petroleum products import increased by 3.30 per cent to $2.52 billion in the last fiscal from $2.44 billion a year before.

The import of food grains particularly rice and wheat increased by 2.78 per cent to $1.15 billion in the last fiscal from $1.12 billion in the FY 16 while import of consumer goods increased by 9.18 per cent to $5.02 billion from $4.60 billion.

BBN/SSR/AD