Last week, Finance minister Mustafa Kamal proposed to impose 5 per cent duty on the import of onion and to increase the duty rate on Sodium Chloride import to protect the interest of local farmers. He made the proposals while placing the national budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 in the parliament.
The minister said that the country’s growers were producing plenty of onions but were deprived of fair market prices due to the zero duty rate on imported onions.
‘Therefore, I propose a small rate of customs duty on onion import to ensure fair market price for onion farmers, encouraging onion cultivation and reducing dependency on imports,’ Kamal said in his budget speech.
He also proposed to reduce advance income tax on local supply of 26 essential items including onion, rice, garlic and wheat to 2 per cent from current 5 per cent.
According to the official data, Bangladesh produces more or less 2 mln tonnes of onions per year and imports nearly 1 mln tonnes of the commodity. Every year, the price of onion decline in April-May during the harvesting season and farmers are deprived of fair prices due to the duty-free import of the item.
Last year, the price of onion topped Tk 250 a kg in the country in October November as India imposed a ban on onion export during the off-season. The country withdrew the ban on onion export in February when the harvesting of the crop began in full swing in Bangladesh.