Staff Correspondent: Traders hoped that there is no possibility of spiraling rice price immediately as the government’s timely decision on rice import in lower tariff helped keep the staple food price normal.
The government took prompt decision of rice import as Boro paddy hoarding by some quarters was witnessed due to its high price in June last, contributing to shooting up rice price.
After Boro harvesting, a number of growers, rice mill owners along with some packaging industries, which don’t have any own production, but to sell packet rice using their company name, started stockpiling rice.
A total of 13-14 packaging companies overnight entered the market and procured huge amount of rice in high price that had an effect on rice price in some cases said city traders.
But, the time-fitting decision of the government played the main role in reducing the rice price immediately, enabling people in heaving sigh of relief, they added.
They went on saying that from that time, rice price is stable despite the price of some daily essentials items in city’s kitchen markets has gone up a bit.
The medium quality rice like BRRI-28 and Swarna is being sold at Tk 43-44 per kg while it was Tk 47-48 per kg a month back in city market.
The fine quality miniket rice is being sold at Tk 54 per kg, reducing by at least 6 Tk.
Retailers said currently, the rice is available in the market and the Aman harvesting period also nears. So there is no chance of soaring rice price in near future, they hoped.
“A 50-kg sack of medium quality BRRI-28 rice is being sold at a price of Tk 2,150 which was procured at Tk 2,350,” said Abul Jalil, a proprietor of SA Agro of Mirpur section-1 wholesale and retail rice market.
But the government’s rice importing decision was good, otherwise the common people had to be suffered for soaring price, said another trader Bacchu Mia of Kawran Bazar, a major rice trading hub in the city.
“There is no chance of soaring rice price in near future as the second largest crop aman harvesting will begin in the middle of the next month,” said Lokman Mia, a rice wholesaler and retailer of Kawran bazaar kitchen market.
Seeking government intervention in curbing hoarding in the name of rice packaging, Nirod Baran Saha, general secretary of Rice Arotder Samity, told yesterday that the government should to frame an act on entrepreneurship of packaging industries.
Only two or three group of companies like ACI, Pran and City Agro were involved in rice packaging with their own production, but the number of packaging industries are increasing over the period, he said.
The packaging industries expansion needs to be checked, he added.
At the end of boro season, the arotder samity leader said usually rice price remains high during this time, but the government’s decision of rice importing helped keep the rice price tolerable.
The government has allowed 428 business firms to import 1,720,000 tons of rice at a lower duty rate, aiming to keep the rice market stable in country.
The food ministry gave the permission for import during August 17 to 30 and informed the commerce ministry about it, said an official citing an instruction.
However, the importers were asked to market the imported rice by September 25.
Besides, the imported rice cannot be repackaged using the name of importers and the rice will have to be sold in plastic sacks, the instruction said.
The ministry said: “If anyone fails to open LC in the stipulated time, the permission will be cancelled.”
On August 12, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a gazette notification slashing the import tariff on rice to 25% from 62.5% to keep the rice prices stable in the local market. The facility of lower import duty will remain effective till October 30.
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