The government has decided to further reduce the import duty on rice from 10 percent to 2 percent to replenish the stock of the staple food item and keep its prices stable.
Food Minister Qamrul Islam came up with the decision after a meeting of the Food Planning and Monitoring Committee held at the Secretariat on Wednesday, reports UNB.
Talking to newsmen after the meeting, he said the decision to cut down the import duty was taken to stabilise the rice market and a circular will be issued soon in this regard.
The minister said they had a target to produce 1.91 crore tonnes of rice in the country this year but it could not be achieved due to massive floods.
He said the government has decided to import 15 lakh tonnes of rice and 5 lakh tonnes of wheat to boost the stock. "The government has struck deals with Vietnam and Cambodia to buy 2.5 lakh tonnes of rice from each country," he said, adding that maximum rice imported from Vietnam has already reached the country.
Asked how much rice has so far imported, Qamrul said, "Some 2.5 lakh tonnes have already entered our sea boundary. The rest will be imported by the current fiscal year," he said.
There is no scarcity of rice in the country and the prices also remain people's purchasing capacity, he claimed.
The minister said the government will provide rice at Tk 10 per kg among the poor people under the Food-friendly Programme from September which will continue for three months.
Each of 50 lakh families across the country will be able to purchase at least 33 kg of rice per month, he added.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Agriculture Minister and Matia Chowdhury took part in the meeting.