Government plans to waive tax on rice import


The government plans to waive tax on imports of rice before Ramadan considering the damage caused by recent flash-floods.

Food Minister Qamrul Islam said the move would tame corrupt traders who may try to raise the price.

The minister held a meeting with rice millers on Thursday.

He said no country imposes tax on daily essentials.

“We imposed the tax after some corrupt traders started importing rice for earning extra profit.”

“We have advised the government to scrap the tax for the time being,” Islam said.

By one estimate, 2.2 million tonnes of paddy have been damaged in the flash floods.

The food ministry however claims that amount is 600,000 tonnes.

Bangladesh has a surplus of about 2 million tonnes of rice, while the annual demand is about 30 million tonnes, according to the minister.
“Boro paddy farming is dependent on nature. It suffers some damage every year. However, the damage in haor areas will not affect the entire country,” he said.
Minister Qamrul vowed to take stern action against anyone found trying to create a “pseudo crisis” in the rice market.
KM Layek Ali, general secretary of Bangladesh Auto, Major and Husking Mill Owners’ Association, said: “Millers do not have stocks. Only corrupt traders do.”
Millers have been demanding tax on imports of rice. “Earlier we had asked the government to impose the tax. If the tax is cancelled now to keep the price in control, we can import to create a balance in the market,” said Ali.

Bangladesh imposes 25 percent customs duty on rice imports.

The tax was imposed to mitigate farmers’ sufferings, Islam said.
“They suffered a lot when 1.5 million tonnes of rice were imported from India without tax.”


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