The Financial Express

Govt set to permit private sector import of 1.0m tonnes of rice

| Updated: June 26, 2022 21:57:12

Govt set to permit private sector import of 1.0m tonnes of rice

The government primarily has set to permit importing maximum of 1.0 million tonnes of rice through the private channels to help bring down the price of the staple in the domestic market. 

The development came after slashing rice import duties to 25 per cent from 62.5 per cent earlier on June 22 by the government.  

“A circular will be issued within one or two days permitting the private sector to import rice," food secretary Md Ismail Hossain, told the FE. 

He said primarily they would give permission to import 0.8-1.0 million tonnes. 

Further, the amount might be increased depending on necessity, he said. 

According to the food ministry, it permitted importers to bring 1.7 million tonnes of rice between July and October in the outgoing financial year. 

In the later months, rice import duty was reduced to even 15 per cent to boost imports.   

But private importers were able to bring only 0.3 million tonnes of rice during the period. 

However, rice prices continued to surge in the domestic market even during the peak Boro harvesting period (April-June) this year, the key rice-growing season. 

The food planning and monitoring committee (FPMC) meeting, headed by the food minister, held on June 6 decided to slash rice import duty and it sought the prime minister’s permission in this regard. 

The prime minister's office on the second week of June gave a positive response to the matter. The Economic Relations Division issued a notification on June 22 slashing import duty to 25 per cent from 62.5 per cent earlier, according to the food ministry officials. 

Rice prices witnessed a 10-22 per cent surge in the last three months, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh and city groceries. 

Price of coarse rice, supplied by traditional millers, hit record Tk 52-54, medium Tk 60-64, finer Tk 70-80 a kg while consumer goods company were selling finer rice varieties at Tk 82-Tk 96 a kg.      

The surge in price by such a margin forced the food ministry to take the decision to reduce import duty.  


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