The National Board of Revenue has withdrawn duties on import of seeds of various types of spices, including coriander and pepper, and pulses to facilitate farming of the items in the country.
Customs wing of the revenue board on December 1 issued a statutory regulatory order withdrawing customs duty, regulatory duty and supplementary duty on import of coriander seeds, pepper seeds and different types of pulses.
The revenue board, however, set a number of conditions, including putting a tag ‘seed for sowing only’ on the packets of the seeds, for importers for enjoying the benefits.
Previously, 25 per cent customs duty, 20 per cent supplementary duty and 3 per cent regulatory duty were applicable to import of pepper seeds while 25 per cent CD and 3 per cent RD were applicable to import of coriander seeds.
Wheat seeds wrapped or canned up to 2.5 kilograms will also be exempted from payment of 5 per cent customs duty.
Generally, there was no duty on import of different types of pulses. But importers had to pay 5 per cent CD on import of beans, small red beans, kidney beans including white pea beans, bambara beans, cow peas, broad beans, horse beans and pigeon peas.
In the SRO, the revenue board also said that there would be no duties on import of mustard seeds, vegetable seeds and onion seeds on which currently no duties are imposed.
Bangladeshi seeds importers during the budget preparation for the current fiscal year of 2019-2020 demanded withdrawal of all types of duties on import of various seeds.
Regarding coriander seeds, they claimed that the country was completely dependent on import of the seeds as the country’s weather was not suitable for producing the seeds.
According to the conditions set in the SRO, an importer should submit a certificate to the customs authorities and the certificate should contain germination rate of seeds, suitability in tropical countries and harvesting period issued by seeds certification agencies of exporting countries on import of packaged seeds up to 1 kg that will directly be sold to farmers.
Importers will have to get permission from director general (seeds) of the agriculture ministry on the amount of seeds and the necessity of import of seeds packaged up to 25 kg before opening letters of credit.
All packages should be labelled ‘seed for sowing only’ with description of seeds and any import of the items without package will not be allowed, the SRO said.
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