Imports cool rice market as 71 companies receive clearance

The government has allowed 71 private sector trade organizations to import 418,000 tonnes of pre-boiled and unboiled rice (atap) in an attempt to curb its prices in the domestic market, an official said.

To this end, the Ministry of Food (MoF) sent a letter to the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) on August 18.

Out of the total, traders will import 362,000 tonnes of non-basmati boiled rice and 56,000 tonnes of unboiled or atap rice.

A senior finance ministry official told FE that rice importers must open letters of credit (LC) within 15 days of the date of the import order.

In addition, they must provide the ministry with all the information including the entry invoice regarding the import of rice.

The Food Ministry official further said that importers cannot package imported rice on behalf of their respective organizations. Imported rice must be sold in plastic bags by September 25, he added.

If a trader does not open the LoC on time, the government will revoke the authorization to import rice.

The government has allowed the importation of rice at a time when prices remain high in the local market.

Traders were also asked to import rice and ensure its marketing on the local market on time (September 25).

The government would not allow traders to import an additional amount of rice against its allocation.

Coarse rice was sold at Tk 50 per kilo, while fine varieties like najirshail and minicate sold for between Tk 59 and Tk 70 per kg in city markets on Saturday.

Due to rising prices, the government decided to import rice by reducing import duties.

The Food Ministry sent a letter to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on July 6, asking it to reduce taxes and duties to make it easier to import rice.

The NBR issued a circular reducing import duties on rice on August 12.

Import duties have been reduced to 25 percent from 62.5 percent previously.

The new rice import rights charter would remain in effect until October 30, according to the NBR.

The Food Ministry official also said interested business organizations could apply to the Finance Ministry until Aug. 25 for rice importation.

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