November 2, 2023
DHAKA – The import tariff on raw and refined sugar was halved by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) yesterday in an attempt to contain prices in the domestic market.
Importers will need to pay Tk 1,500 as specific duty on the import of each tonne of raw sugar, down from Tk 3,000 earlier, said the NBR in a notification.
Similarly, specific duty on refined sugar was slashed to Tk 3,000 per tonne from Tk 6,000.
The revenue administration, however, retained a 15 percent value added tax (VAT) and 30 regulatory duty on raw and refined sugar import.
The reduction was based on the commerce ministry’s recommendation.
Bangladesh is highly dependent on the import of the sweetener and its price has gone up over the last one year in a ripple effect stemming from international markets and an increase in the cost of the US dollar.
Sugar prices rose to $0.58 per kilogramme (kg) in September from $0.53 a month ago, according to World Bank Commodities Prices data.
Year-on-year, its average price climbed 35 percent to $0.54 per kg in September this year.
In Dhaka, each kg was retailing at Tk 130 to Tk 135 yesterday, which was 20 percent higher year-on-year, showed market prices data of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
To reduce prices, private mills, which process raw sugar to meet 98 percent of the country’s annual demand of 20 lakh tonnes, had been urging for reducing the import tariff.
The duty cut by the NBR, however, did not meet their expectations.
“This will have an insignificant impact on the market prices,” they said, seeking further reductions from the NBR.
The NBR said the reduction would remain in effect until March 31 of 2024.