April 12, 2024, 5:15 pm

Commerce ministry recommends cutting import duties on cooking oil, sugar, dates ahead of Ramadan

  • Update Time : Tuesday, January 23, 2024
  • 67 Time View
Photo: Collected

Desk Report:

The Ministry of Commerce has recommended cutting customs duties on cooking oil, sugar and dates ahead of Ramadan based on demands from traders.

A letter in this regard was sent to the National Board of Revenue on Monday after a joint meeting between five ministries on commodity prices on Sunday, according to a ministry official.

The NBR will announce how significant the cuts will be in each sector, said Md Abdus Samad Al Azad, joint secretary of the commerce ministry’s sub section on imports and internal trade, on Tuesday.

Currently, sugar, which was priced at Tk 65-70 two years ago, cannot be bought for less than Tk 140 per kg on the market. The market price for soybean oil has jumped from Tk 100 per litre two years ago to Tk 170 per litre now.

The price of chickpeas has risen at least Tk 10 from last year to Tk 90 per kg.

Traders have complained that date imports have been halted for a long time due to the higher customs duties on their import.

Traders from different sectors have demanded a reduction in these duties for several months.

Currently, there is a 15 percent duty at the import stage of cooking oil, a 15 percent duty on the production stage and another 5 percent duty at the distribution stage, said Biswajit Saha, director of City Group.

Traders asked for the duties on cooking oil at the import and distribution level to be lifted and for the 30 percent regulatory duty on raw sugar to be removed as well, he said.

Amitabh Chakrabarty, the company’s advisor, said at a discussion organised by the FBCCI that importers had to pay a duty of Tk 42 per kg on sugar imports and that it had to be cut.

Sirajul Islam, president of the Fruit Importers Association, said the duty on unpackaged dates was Tk 5-10 per kg and that on packaged dates was Tk 30. But, following the recent hike in the duty on dates, the amount had risen to Tk 70 per kg on unpackaged dates and Tk 145 per kg on packaged dates.

Traders have stopped importing dates because they worry no one will buy them if prices were raised according to the hike in the duty, he said.

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