Import duty on non-boiled rice reduced to 25pc
The government has reduced the import duty on non-boiled rice to 25 per cent from 65 per cent to increase market supply. The finance ministry's Internal Resources Department (IRD) issued a notification with immediate effect in this regard yesterday.
It stated that the IRD took the decision in public interest in consultation with the National Board of Revenue (NBR). Meanwhile, an official of the Ministry of Finance told The Daily Star that the move was taken following the Ministry of Food's request.
Earlier on January 7, the import duty on boiled rice was also reduced by the NBR to 25 per cent from 62.5 per cent.
The revenue authority stipulated that importers would need written permission from the Ministry of Food to bring the rice. It said the reduction would remain effective until April 30, 2021.
In December last year, the food ministry recommended that the NBR reduce the import tariff to 25 per cent in order to increase supply of the grain and curb price spirals in the domestic market.
Yesterday's reduction coincides with the government approving three proposals for importing a total of 3.5 lakh tonnes of rice from India, Thailand and Vietnam under state-to-state arrangements.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, in a meeting chaired by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, approved the proposals as a part of the government's attempt to increase food stocks in the country.
As per the proposal, 1.50 lakh tonnes would be imported from India, 1.50 lakh tonnes from Thailand and 50,000 tonnes from Vietnam.
Till March 8, the country's food stocks stood at only 6.26 lakh tonnes, of which 5.28 lakh tonnes were rice and the rest wheat, according to the food ministry.
The ministry considers around 10 lakh tonnes of rice as the optimum amount of stock that should be maintained.