Monday, 24th June, 2024
Monday, 24th June, 2024

Dates gain several times price after entering Bangladesh

Zaidi variety of dates is one of the most sought-after Iftar items in Bangladesh. The traders are importing the fruit at a cost of Tk 96 per kilogram this year, but the consumers are being charged more than three times of the procurement rate.

It has now been a burning question – why is the price going up?

An analysis on the import documents at Chattogram customs, import invoices and market prices revealed that the price is rising irrationally after the fruit’s entry into the country.

The cost of shipping from Iraq stands at $800 for each tonne or each 1,000 kgs of date. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has collected Tk 130 in duty for each kg of dates, considering the procurement rate at $2.5 per kg.

So, the official cost for importing each kg of dates totals at Tk 226. The traders claimed the cost to be Tk 240 per kg, including transport cost, loan interests, and some other costs.

The duty for low-grade dates surpasses the actual procurement rate. Also, the cost of storage and transportation for dates is also higher than that of other fruits

Mohammad Kamal, senior vice president of the Fresh Fruit Importers Association

But the price reaches Tk 300 to 350 when the fruit enters the retail markets through different intermediate phases.

Traders attributed this discrepancy to incidental expenses such as transportation costs and interest on bank loans, which inflate the final retail price.

Mohammad Kamal, senior vice president of the Fresh Fruit Importers Association, said the duty for low-grade dates surpasses the actual procurement rate. Also, the cost of storage and transportation for dates is also higher than that of other fruits.

Meanwhile, the government has fixed the prices of two varieties of dates on Tuesday. In a release, the commerce ministry set the price of low-grade dates from Tk 150 to Tk 165 and that of Zaidi variety from Tk 170 to 180.

But the market price is still higher than the fixed rate, with the varieties priced as high as Tk 200 per kg in Dhaka.

The commerce ministry noted that they determined the price, analysing import costs, duty, tax, and other expenses of the dates.

In 2022, the government hiked the duty on imported dates in an effort to keep the imports in check. There was 25 per cent import duty, 15 per cent VAT, 5 per cent income tax in advance, 5 per cent tax in advance, and 3 per cent regulatory duty on dates. The total tax load amounted to 59 per cent.

Recently, the government slashed the import duty by 10 per cent due to Ramadan, which was supposed to bring down the date prices by Tk 13-33 per kg. But that did not happen in reality.

According to the NBR, a total of 38,205 tonnes of dates have been imported since the reduction in import duty, where 28 per cent is Zaidi variety, and 51 per cent was loose dates.

The share of expensive varieties like Ajwa and Medjul is less than 1 per cent.

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