Tanzania faces ballooning import bill as exports drop

Wednesday November 28 2018

Port of Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s current

Port of Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s current account deficit widen by $966 million to $2.159 billion in the year ending September 2018, compared with $1.193 billion in the same period in 2017. PHOTO FILE | NMG 

By BEATRICE MATERU
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Increased imports for transport equipment and building and construction materials have seen Tanzania’s current account deficit widen by $966 million to $2.159 billion in the year ending September 2018, compared with $1.193 billion in the same period in 2017.

The figure represents a 7.5 per cent rise from August 2018, when the deficit was $2.009 billion.

The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) says all categories of imports went up, especially capital goods, transport equipment, building and construction materials, an increase attributed to the ongoing construction of the standard gauge railway, roads and bridges, airports and ports.

In its latest economic review, the central banks says oil imports, which make up the largest share of imports into the country, accelerated by 8.1 per cent to $1.973 billion, largely blamed on the rise in prices in the world market caused by supply factors.

At the same time, the export value of goods and services declined, mainly due to a decline in the export of non-traditional goods.

Non-traditional exports include diamonds, gold, manufactured goods such as mobile devices, coffee, tobacco, fish and fish products, as well as horticultural products.

“In the year ending September 2018, the export value of goods and services accounted about $8.669 billion compared with $8.741 billion recorded in the year ending September 2017,” said the report.

Non-traditional exports include diamonds, gold, manufactured goods such as mobile devices, coffee, tobacco, fish and fish products as well as horticultural products.

The traditional exports counter features agricultural commodities, with coffee, cotton, sisal, tea, raw tobacco, cashew nuts and cloves being major.

Tanzania’s top export destinations are India, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, South Africa and China. The same nations also make up the import.

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