Oil import bills strain Tanzania's economy By WILFRED EDWIN THE EAST AFRICAN Special Correspondent A huge import oil bill has con-tinued to press hard on Tanzania's ever-growing current account deficit. The Bank of Tanzania monetary policy statement mid-term review report indicates that the largest proportion to total imports for the year came from intermediate goods, which accounted for 41.3 per cent, with capital goods constituting 36 per cent. In particular, oil imports rose sharply by 31.3 per cent over the levels recorded in 2006. The surge in the value of imported oil stemmed from both the huge volumes imported and rising prices in the world market. In 2007, 2.5 million tonnes were imported compared with 2 million tonnes the previous year. The average price per tonne for oil imported into Tanzania was $581.2 in 2007, up from an average price of $574.2 in 2006. This means that the country's expenditure in footing the oil import bill rose to $1,453 billion last year, when it imported 2.5 million metric tonnes, from an expenditure of $1,148 million when it imported 2 million tonnes of oil the previous year. Between July and November 2006, the oil import bill constituted 68.7 per cent of intermediate goods and accounted for the largest share of the increase. During 2007, the current account recorded a deficit of $2,056.2 million. Total export earnings for the year amounted to $3,703.6 million, while imports reached $6,306.3 million. Traditional export crops, once the major foreign exchange earner, improved by 8.6 per cent over the year, earning $290.1 million. Mineral exports stood at $886.5 million, out of which gold exports amounted to $762.9 million. Exports of manufactured goods earned $309.2 million, whereas fish and fish products realised $137.7 million. With regards to services, total receipts amounted to $1,697 million during the year, with tourism accounting for the lion's share.