Bangladesh. Govt to cut rice import duty


In the backdrop of huge damage of boro paddy due to flash flood in the north-east haor regions, the government is set to slash import duty on rice, sources said.

The Directorate of Food has recently sent a proposal to the Food Ministry recommending the duty cut by 14 percent.

According to the proposal, the Department apprehended losses of six lakh tonnes of Boro rice, which was unpredictable.

It suggested bringing down the import duty to 10 per cent from the existing 28 per cent.

According to the Food Ministry official, the proposal has already been sent to the Commerce Ministry and it would go to the NBR through the Ministry for maintaining the formalities.

'We have sent a proposal to the Food Ministry for cutting rice import duty as the rice price has increased in the local market because of a "real" and "psychological" impact of flash flood on the market,' said Md Badrul Hasan, Director General of the Food Directorate.

The government imposed import duty on rice in May 2015 for the protection of local farmers as the prices of the item went down below the production cost due to import of lower-priced rice,' he said.

Although losses of six lakh tonnes of rice is being apprehended, there will be no shortage of rice, he said.

'But it has a psychological impact which might push up the price of the item in the local market.'

It has not yet been decided whether the public or the private sector would import the rice.

'If we can import, the psychological impact could be managed and the prices of rice will remain stable,' he said.

Badrul Hasan, however, said, generally the prices of rice start to decrease in the market from mid April every year as the boro rice produced in haor region arrives in the market.

But this year the price of rice increased in mid April as the flash flood damaged crops in haor areas, he added. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh data, the price of coarse variety of rice in last one year increased by 31.82 per cent to Tk 45 a kg from Tk 34 a kg.

The coarse variety of rice was selling at Tk 43-45 in the city markets on Tuesday.

The price of BR-28 rice and Miniket rice continued to increase and coarse variety of Miniket rice was retailing at Tk 52-54 a kg, while its fine variety was selling at Tk 55-57 a kg in the city markets.

BR-28 rice was retailing at Tk 48-52 a kg.


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