Bangladesh’s Food Ministry on Tuesday sent a letter to its National Board of Revenue (NBR) requesting it to cut the import tariffs on rice, considering production loss of 6 lakh tonnes of boro rice in the flash flood in haor areas. The proposal, for cutting down the import duty to 10 per cent from existing 28 per cent, has already been sent to the commerce ministry and it would go to the NBR through the ministry.‘We have sent a proposal to the food ministry for cutting rice import duty as the rice price has increased in the local market because of a “real” and “psychological” impact of flash flood on the market,’ said Md Badrul Hasan, director general of Directorate General of Food. At present, the government is sincere to ensure adequate supply of rice to stabilize the market. At the same time, it also wants to reduce sufferings of the people. Considering the situation, the government decided to cut the tariff on importing rice. It will help to reduce the rice price and ensure stability in the market, he added.
Bangladesh was a rice-sufficient country for the last few years before growing into a rice surplus one. As a result, rice price reduced drastically leading to huge loss for farmers and in May 2015, the government imposed 25 percent tariff on the import of rice. With 6 lakh tonnes of rice damaged in flood in haor areas, the quantity should not create any shortage, if the proposal for withdrawal of the tariff goes through. This help from the government will ensure stability in the food grain market with sufficient supply. Mr. Badrul said that it was not decided whether the government or private sector would import the rice but private sector could do the job efficiently. ‘If we can import 6 lakh tonnes of rice, the quantity damaged in haor, the psychological impact would be managed and the price would remain stable,’ he said.However generally the prices of rice start to decrease in the market from mid-April every year as the boro rice produced in haor region hits the market first. But this year the prices of rice increased in mid-April as the flash flood damaged crops in haor areas, he added.