Govt lowers rice import duty to 25pc to control prices


Dhaka Bureau ## The government has decided to lower the duty on the import of rice to 25 percent, down from 62.5 percent, to encourage the private sector to import the staple and thus help stabilise the volatile rice market.

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar announced the decision in an online media briefing on Sunday.

The legal private importers have been asked to apply to the Food Ministry with all necessary documents within January 10 next year, he said at a virtual press conference.

“The ministry will give approval for importing a certain amount of rice after scrutinising the applications,” said the Minister.

Prime Sheikh Hasina on December 24 gave approval to import rice after reducing import duty, he said.

The government is going to import 400,000 metric tonnes of rice under government-to-government and open bidding system, said the Minister.

Rice prices in Dhaka’s markets increased by 28.06 percent over the past year despite adequate reserve and import of the staple, putting extra pressure on the people hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Data of the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) from December 22 showed that the price of coarse rice increased by 47.69 percent per kg while that of medium 23.33 percent and the fine variety 17.14 percent compared to the previous year.

Each kg coarse rice price rose to Tk46-50 from Tk30-35 compared to the previous year while that of the medium variety went up to Tk53-58 from Tk40-50 and the fine one increased to Tk58-65 from Tk45-60, the TCB data showed.