Onion import stops once again at Hili port

21 September 2020


Staff Reporter :
India on Sunday again stopped onion export to Bangladesh just after one day of the temporary release of the stranded onions at land ports..
Importers said, about 300 tones of onion entered through different land ports on Saturday, but the neighbouring country again stopped exports to Bangladesh on Sunday.
Bangladeshi importers said, more than 300 onion laden trucks are waiting to enter Bangladesh, but the fate of those has become uncertain again.
The traders fear huge loss for whimsical decisions of the next door neighbour.
"We are uncertain about getting delivery of our 10,000 tones of onion," said Harun-ur-Rashid, President of Hili port Exporters and Importers Association.  
India allowed to cross 11 trucks of onion to enter Bangladesh, most of those were rotten.
He said, the Indian government is yet to clear its decision about onion export to Bangladesh.
Besides, Indian exporters said that their government only permitted to export the commodity  as per the LCs opened on September 13.
They exported about 300 tons of the commodity on Saturday.
To export rest of the onion, government's permission is necessary, they said. On the other hand, to control crisis on onion in local markets the government has decided to withdraw five per cent customs duty on import of onion to encourage importers to bring the product from alternative sources, as India banned the export of onion to Bangladesh.
Finance Ministry officials on Sunday confirmed the matter. They said that the National Board of Revenue was working on issuing a legal regulatory order in this connection.
Besides, India has released the pre-contract consignments of onion on Saturday. But traders are saying that most of the onions are rotten, as those were loaded on truck for five to six days in the hot weather.  
On Sunday, importers complained that large portions of the Indian onions are found rotten.
To ensure fair price for farmers and to encourage domestic production of onion, the government imposed duty for the first time in the budget for the current fiscal year.
Now the decision of withdrawal of the duty was taken, as the onion market jumped by price after Indian ban.  
The price of onion started to soar and reached Tk 120 per kg on Tuesday.
Commerce Ministry requested the NBR to withdraw the duty to keep the price of the product stable in the domestic market.
The government has taken initiatives to import onions from Turkey and Egypt within a month.
Apart from these, Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) are selling onion in open market on trucks at Tk 30 per kg to ease the crisis.
On the other hand, TCB also started to sell onion in online at Tk 36 per kg and one customers can buy highest five kg of the commodity.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi inaugurated the online selling programme on Sunday. It will be now available only in Dhaka and Chattogram cities. Later it will be expanded, the minister said.
Besides, Indian pre-contract onions also started to enter Bangladesh from Saturday and government's initiatives to conduct mobile court against price hike, for which price declined by Tk 10 to 20 in the last two days and selling at Tk 60 to 80 in local markets.

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