Food ministry blames commerce ministry for higher rice price

| Updated: October 22, 2017 17:20:21

Food ministry blames commerce ministry for higher rice price

The food ministry, under fire for costlier rice, has piled blame on the commerce ministry, accusing it of wasting time before deciding to cut back on import duty.

The commerce ministry should have reduced import duty on the staple grain “in time, and at once”, officials of the food ministry told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Bangladesh did not reduce import duty in one go, but brought it down in phases and that too was not in time. To make things worse, India, a major rice exporter, raised prices several times.

“So even though import duty was withdrawn, the move failed to bring down the rice prices to a desired level,” according to a meeting document.

Facing heavy crop losses in flooding, the government revised import duty from 25 per cent to 10 per cent on Jun 20. A 3 per cent regulatory duty required to import rice was also withdrawn then.

Then in August, the government slashed import duty further to 2 per cent in an effort to curb prices in the local market, according to bdnews24.com.

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