The government on Wednesday increased the duties on rice import to 55 per cent from 28 per cent to discourage the import because of significant fall in prices of the food crop in the local market amid bumper production.
The National Board of Revenue in a statutory regulatory order (SRO) hiked the regulatory duty on rice import to 25 per cent from 3 per cent.
The total duty on rice import will now be 55 per cent, including 25 per cent customs duty, 25 per cent regulatory duty and 5 per cent advance income tax.
Before the latest hike, total duty on rice import was 28 per cent.
The increased duty would be applicable for import of husked (brown rice), fortified rice kernels, semi-milled or wholly-milled rice, whether or not polished or glazed and broken rice.
The government took the move amid farmers’ protest against falling paddy price in local market.
In a statement, NBR chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said that around 3 lakh tonnes of rice was imported in the first 10 months of the current financial year 2018-19.
‘As a result, local farmers have been forced to sell the paddy at prices lower than that of their production cost. Due to the lower prices, marginal farmers are incurring huge financial losses,’ he said.
To save the farmers from the financial loss, the NBR increased the import duty of rice as per instruction of the prime minister, he added.
Farmers at different places in the country protested against fall in paddy price this year amid bumper harvest.
The severe shortage of agriculture labourers forces the growers to hire them at high wages from Tk 600 to Tk 1,000 a day to harvest their paddy while they are now selling 40kg of boro paddy at Tk 500 to Tk 600.
A farmer in Tangial set his ripen paddy field on fire protesting at low prices of the produced crop.
Rice importers said that the imposition of additional duty would discourage import but it might have little impact on the prices on the local market as a significant amount of rice had already been imported.
Average retail price of coarse rice was dropped by 15 per cent to around Tk 38 per kilogramme in a year in the local market.
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