The government yesterday increased regulatory duty on rice import to 25 per cent from the existing 3 per cent in its move to raise the prices of paddy in local markets by discouraging import of the main staple food in the country.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR), in a circular which will come into immediate effect, also said that importers have to pay five percent advance income tax on rice import. With the latest rise in regulatory duty and advance income tax, now rice importers have to count a total of 55 per cent tax and duty.
The government move comes in the wake of countrywide protests by farmers against low paddy prices, which, they claim, ranges between Tk 400 and Tk 450 a maund, almost half their production costs. The abnormally low paddy prices also prompted some farmers to leave their produces in the fields and some to burn their paddy at some places.
NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said 3.3 lakh metric tonnes of rice were imported in 10 months of 2018-19 fiscal year.
As a result, he said, the country’s farmers are being forced to sell their rice at a price lower than their production cost. The decision to raise the import tax and duty has been taken considering the huge losses being incurred by farmers, he said.