ISLAMABAD (Eshfaq Mughal):- The Covid-19 has put significant pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves due to import of corona related vaccines and other medicines do deal with the growing pandemic in the country. The country’s import bill of medicinal products swelled by five times to $3.1 billion mainly due to corona pandemic and raw material during the first half of the current fiscal year.
Pakistan Government imports, vaccines, corona test kits and other corona related products from China, USA and other countries to deal with the growing pandemic of covid-19 in the country. The donations of these products from different countries and international organizations are also a source of meeting the country’s requirement to overcome the pandemic.
The import bill of medicinal products surged to $3.1 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year as compared to $539billion during the same period of the last fiscal year.
The figures show that the corona pandemic put pressure on only house hold income but also on forex reserves due to skyrooted imports of corona related medicines and instruments including ventilators and vaccines.
Economic expert Dr Waqar Ahmed says that there are some reasons behind this increase. He said that the import of corona vaccine and booster has contributed to increase the import bill which will come down after March expectedly. While, explaining the other reasons, he said that the Pharma industry uses imported raw material for manufacturing its products to fulfil the growing demand of exports. He also said that Pakistan had to import medicine for Afghanistan during last quarter. This pressure also will be decreased as international community took this burden of Afghanistan’s medical requirement.
The import bill of medicinal products of the country surged to $975 million during Dec 2021 as compared to $99.9 million in Dec 2020. It was recorded at $689 million in November when Omicron variant outbreak in South Africa.
It is pertinent to mention here that almost 35 percent population are fully vaccinated up to third week of January 22 in Pakistan. According to the official figures, Pakistan administered 170.7 million dose of corona vaccines up to 23 January, 2022. Out of them, 78.8 million citizens are fully vaccinated while, 102.97 peoples have single does so far.
It is also matter of concerns for policy makers that the pandemic is growing with sky rocketing speed mainly due to Omicron cases. Pakistan accelerated the vaccination process besides the conducting 50 thousands average daily corona tests. From last some days, the daily cases are being reported with highest number in the country’s history of corona pandemic since Feb 2020, when it was outbreak in Pakistan. This trend shows that there will be no relaxed moment in near future for Pakistani economic in terms of import bill of corona related medicines and instruments until Pakistan itself take step towards manufacturing.