The prices of rice went up in the city’s wholesale markets following the announcement of budget for the financial year of 2018-19 as the government reinstated 28 per cent import duty on the staple in the budget.
Following the announcement of the budget on June 7, importers and millers increased the wholesale prices of rice by Tk 1-2 a kilogram and the wholesale price increase started affecting the retail markets in the city, traders said.
‘Rice importers and mill owners have already raised the wholesale prices of all varieties of rice by Tk 1-2 a kg and they also squeezed the supply of the staple as the government imposed import duty on the item,’ Syed Monirul Islam, proprietor of Barishal Rice Agency at Mohammadpur Krishi Bazar, told New Age on Monday.
He said the importers increased the prices of rice, which were imported under duty facility before the announcement of the budget, in the name of import duty re-imposition.
Monirul said that the wholesale prices of rice increased before Eid-ul-Fitr, one of the biggest religious festivals of the Muslims, which was celebrated in the country on Saturday, and the price hike started affecting the retail markets in the city.
Last year, the government reduced the import duty on rice to 2 per cent from 28 per cent to meet the shortfall of the crops as flash floods damaged production of boro rice in the haor areas.
Considering the bumper rice production this year, finance minister AMA Muhith on June 7 reimposed 25 per cent customs duty and 3 per cent regulatory duty on rice import to protect the interest of the local farmers.
Following the re-imposition of duty, the prices of both the imported and locally produced rice went up in the wholesale market and in some cases retail prices also increased.
‘The government has imposed import duty aiming to increase the prices of rice and the decision has already started increasing the prices of all varieties of rice in the market,’ KM Layek Ali, general secretary of the Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mill Owners Association, said.
He said that following the imposition of duty on rice import, the prices of paddy started increasing in the market.
It is obvious that the prices of rice would increase as the prices of paddy increased by Tk 70 a mound (40 kg) in last one week, Layek Ali said.
According to Layek Ali, the wholesale prices of coarse, medium and fine varieties of rice increased by Tk 50-125 a bag (50 kg) in last one week.
A kilogram of coarse variety of rice was selling at Tk 42-45 a kg on Monday. The fine variety of Najirshail rice was retailing at Tk 65-70 a kg and its standard variety at Tk 60-64 a kg in the city markets.
BR-28 rice was retailing at Tk 50-52 a kg, while Miniket rice was selling at Tk 62-68 a kg. The coarse variety of Miniket rice was retailing at Tk 56-60 a kg.