Bangladeshi imports of fresh fruits dropped 50% in the four months till August, as the government tightened rules regarding the procurement of such non-essential items to ease pressure on depleting foreign currency reserves.
The National Board of Revenue raised the regulatory duty on imports of various fresh fruits to 20% from the earlier 3%, while the Bangladesh Bank slapped a 100% cash margin requirement for opening letters of credit for imports of such products.
As of April this year, fruit imports through Chattogram port were around 70,000 tons on average. In the wake of such restrictions, imports came down to 35,000 tons in the span of a month. The falling trend continued in the next two months and slumped to 21,571 tons in July, according to Chattogram customs.
In August, fruit imports marked a 55% month-on-month rise to 33,454 tons, but the quantity still remained way lower than that in April. Businesses say the overall import duty on fresh fruits has now increased to 113% from a little over 89% because of the 20% regulatory duty imposed by the government in May this year.