ZANZIBAR current account deficit has widened to 15.1 million US dollars in the quarter ending September up from 4.4 million US dollars in the corresponding quarter last year as imports increased.
According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) report for the quarter ended September other factors that contributed to the narrowing of the current account deficit are decrease in exports and current transfers.
Import of goods and services increased by 26.3 per cent, while current transfers and export of goods and services declined by 32.2 per cent and 6.0 per cent, respectively.
During the quarter under review, import of goods increased to 54.5 million US dollars from 42.0 million US dollars in the similar quarter last year. All major categories of goods import recorded increased, with intermediate goods recording the largest increase.
The value of intermediate goods imports, which accounted for 44.0 per cent of goods imports increased by 39.2 per cent largely driven by oil imports. Consistent with the increase in goods imports, foreign payments with respect to services rose by 16.5 per cent quarter-onquarter to 17.1 million US dollars in the quarter to September.
Exports of goods declined to 2.5 million US dollars from 11 million US dollars in the similar quarter last year on account of cloves which recorded no exports during the quarter due to cyclical nature of the crop. Cloves procured during the quarter amounted to 104.6 tonnes compared with 2,265.6 tonnes procured in the similar quarter last year.
However, earnings from seaweeds export more than doubled to 0.93 million US dollars from 0.3 million US dollars on account of both volume and price.
The procurement of seaweeds increased to 2,543.3 tonnes from 1,670.7 tonnes in the quarter to September 2017 attributed to ongoing government efforts and seaweed companies to improve farming methods through extension services and supply of tools.
Service receipts also rose to 45.3 million US dollars in the quarter to September from 39.9 million US dollars in the corresponding quarter in 2017. Service account had a surplus of 28.2 million US dollars in the quarter ending September compared with a surplus of 25.2 million US dollars following an increase in service receipts, mostly from travel.