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90,000 tonnes of edible oil imported after VAT reduction: Tipu

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi today said that around 90,000 tonnes of edible oil was imported from abroad at a lower rate after VAT was reduced on its import.

“The impact of VAT reduction on edible oil has already been seen in the market. The edible oil at retail level is being sold at Taka 162 to Taka 168 per litre,” he said.

The commerce minister said this while briefing reporters after chairing the 1st meeting of the taskforce to review the price of essentials and the market situation held at the Commerce Ministry conference room today.

He said that there is sufficient stock of edible oil in the market while strict monitoring is there so that the supply of essential items including edible oil is not hindered.

Tipu also informed that the ministry of home affairs and the concerned law enforcement agencies would extend necessary cooperation and support in this regard.

Earlier on March 16, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) reduced VAT from 15 percent to 5 percent at import level on soybean oil and palm oil to rein in the high price trend.

Answering to a question, the commerce minister said that he had talked with the home minister to enquire whether there is any incident of extortion from goods transportation to marketing. “He (home minister) has assured me of taking necessary steps in this regard,” Tipu said.

He mentioned that the government wants to keep the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) as a strong entity while the Corporation has a stockpile of around 30 percent of the demand for essential items.

Tipu opined since the TCB has been in a strong position, the government has been able to deliver essential items at an affordable price to some one crore families. “If the TCB remains in such strong position, then there will be no hassle for the countrymen,” the commerce minister said.

Replying to another question, the commerce minister said that it was not the jurisdiction of his ministry to look after the price of vegetables. “But, I think if the local supply chain could have been further developed, then it would have been possible to reduce the price of vegetables at retail level,” he said.

He opined that the price of vegetables including eggplant is much lower compared to the capital.

Tipu said in order to avert any disruption in the supply chain, a specific timeframe has been fixed for the suppliers including that of the refineries of the edible oil so that they could supply products within their stipulated timeframe.