The government is considering withdrawal of the import duty on rice aiming to mitigate the prevailing crisis in the country.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal made the comment in a press briefing at his office in Dhaka on Monday.
Mustafa Kamal said: “It is true that the price of rice has gone up. But there is a lot of rice in the market. Rice mills also have enough stock. So, the prices will drop once the import duty is reduced.”
He said the import duty was imposed to help local farmers get fair prices.
“But, we are now thinking of withdrawing the import duty considering overall situation,” he added.
The development came despite a recent government decision to import of 250,000 tonnes of white and parboiled rice from Vietnam.
Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved a proposal to import 200,000 tonnes of white rice at $430 per tonne and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $470 per tonne.
Replying to a separate query, he said the slow progress of the mega projects including the Padma Bridge is a result of foreign workers and employees leaving the country after the July 1 Gulshan attack.
“The funds of the pending projects were not disbursed as the foreigners fled from Bangladesh. But, now they have started returning. So, the fund disbursement will increase, leading to quick completion of the projects,” he said.
Regarding the next budget, he said the people are in fear of the new VAT law and the imposition of excise duty.
“But, there is nothing to worry about in this regard,” he said, claiming the private investment is on an upward trend.
Government and private investment have not seen even 1% fall in the last eight years, he said.
Planning Secretary Ziaul Islam, member of the Department of General Economics Shamsul Alam, Secretary of statistics and information management department KM Mozammel Haque and Planning Commission member AN Sammuddin Azad Chowdhury attended the press meet among others.