THE surplus of the overall balance of payments decreased by more than half in the year 2017/18 due to increase in imports attributed to implementation of mega infrastructural projects.
According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) annual report 2017/18, the period under review saw the overall balance of payments posting a surplus of 627.8 million US dollars compared with a surplus of 1,202.5 million US dollars in the previous year.
Also, the increase in payments under the primary income account, particularly interest payments contributed to the decline in surplus of the balance of payments.
During the period under review, traditional goods exports rose by 33.0 per cent to 1,152.4 million US dollars following improvement in all traditional goods exports, except coffee and cotton.
The export value of cashew nuts, cloves and tobacco rose due to increase in volume, while that of sisal and tea was on account of both volume and price. Conversely, export values of coffee and cotton declined following drop in export volumes.
The value of non-traditional exports was 3,478.3 million US dollars from 3,617.6 million US dollars in 2016/17.
The value of gold exports that accounted for about 45.1 per cent of non-traditional exports increased by 2.4 per cent to 1,569.7 million US dollars.
The value of goods imports increased by 3.2 per cent to 7,954.0 million US dollars in 2017/18. All goods import categories increased, with consumer goods recording the largest increase.
The value of consumer goods imports rose by 5.7 per cent to 2,200.0 million US dollars followed by intermediate goods imports, particularly oil that increased by 2.6 per cent to 1,993.5 million US dollars.
The increase in capital goods imports is consistent with the implementation of major projects, including acquisition of aircrafts and construction of the standard gauge railway line.
Similarly, the stock of gross foreign assets of commercial banks increased by 18.9 per cent to 825.2 million US dollars, from 693.9 million US dollars at the end of June 2017. The value of goods exports increased by 3.3 per cent to 5,093.8 US dollars in 2017/18 on account of traditional exports.