Friday, 7 October, 2022

Govt allows 280 pvt firms to import 8.37 lakh tonnes of rice

The government has given permission to 280 private firms to import 8.37 lakh tonnes of rice as different corporate organisations and unscrupulous traders are allegedly trying to create an artificial crisis in the market of rice across the country.

"The food ministry has given permission to some 280 private firms to import 8.37 lakh tonnes of rice from abroad within next August aiming at tackling the artificial crisis of rice, caused mostly by some unscrupulous hoarders in the country," said Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman, Senior Assistant Secretary (Foreign procurement) of the Ministry of Food, reports BSS.

Of the total import, these firms will import some 7.21 lakh tonnes of parboiled and 1.16 lakh tonnes of non-boiled (Atop) rice, according to an official order.

 The private sector importers have been asked to open the Letter of Credit (LC) within this month to import the amount of rice and market those food grains within August this year.

 The government has given permission to the importers and traders of the private sector for importing rice with a 25 per cent tax with a view to ensuring its adequacy to stable the volatile rice market.

Some private importers and traders have already submitted their applications to the ministry intending to import rice.

 The importers, who have been given permission, will have to import rice within a month of opening LC...A portion of the imported rice must have to be available in the market within the next 15 days of reaching those food grains to the country," he added.

 On June 22, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) under the Internal Resources Division of the Finance Ministry issued a notification clearing a Food Ministry proposal to cut import tax for facilitating rice import under the private sector.

 Importers would have to just pay only 25 per cent import tax - 15 per cent regulatory duty, five per cent advance tax and five per cent advance income tax, according to the NBR notification, adding that "There would be no customs duty. Customs duty was 25 per cent and regulatory duty was 25 per cent before."

 However, the Food Ministry proposed to allow rice import at 'zero tax'.

Responding to the proposal of the ministry, the Prime Minister has also given her approval to import rice at zero tax. But, the NBR has given its clearance to import rice paying 25pc taxes in total.

 According to the Food Ministry and Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) statement, retailers are selling per kg fine rice at Tk 65 to 80, which is up 14 per cent from a month ago. Prices of coarse rice edged up 8.6 per cent to Tk 48 to 53 per kg, during the same period.

At present, the food grain stock in the government godowns is around 16.41 lakh tonnes.

Of the grains, the stock of rice is around 14.08 lakh tonnes, 1.63 lakh tonnes of wheat and 1.07 lakh tonnes of paddy.