Govt approves import of 17 lakh tonnes of rice

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Dhaka, Aug 30: The government has permitted 428 businesspeople and firms to import 17.2 lakh metric tonnes of rice at a lower duty rate, aiming to keep the rice market stable in Bangladesh.

The Food Ministry gave the permission from August 17 to 30 and informed the Commerce Ministry about it, said an official.

On Monday, another 79 business firms got permission to import 1.01 lakh metric tonnes of boiled and atap (non-boiled) rice.  With that, the Food Ministry permitted a total of 428 firms to import some 17.2 lakh metric tonnes of rice.

However, the importers will have to market the imported rice by September 25 next.

The other conditions imposed by the ministry include ensuring maximum 5 percent broken grains among the imported rice, opening LC (Letter of Credit) within 15 days and informing the Food Ministry about the LC-related information through emails instantly.

Besides, the imported rice cannot be repackaged using the name of importers and the rice will have to be sold in plastic sacks.

If anyone fails to open LC in the stipulated time, the permission will be cancelled, the ministry says.

Earlier, 41 firms got permission on August 17 last to import 4.10 lakh tonnes of rice, 69 firms on August 18 to import 4.18 lakh tonnes of rice, 91 firms on August 21 to import 3.91 lakh tonnes of rice, 73 firms on August 22 to import 2.22 lakh tonnes of rice (boiled and unboiled ones), 41 firms on August 23 to import 94,000 tonnes of rice (boiled and unboiled ones) and 34 firms on August 24 to import 57,000 tonnes of rice (boiled and unboiled ones).

On August 12, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a gazette notification slashing the import tariff on rice to 25 percent from 62.5 percent in order to keep the rice prices stable in the local market. The facility of lower import duty will remain effective till October 30 next.

The imported rice has already started entering Bangladesh through land ports, the official added.