Government to consider 5 percent import duty on onions- Finance Minister

Staff Correspondent,
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that 5 per cent reduction in import duty on onions will be considered.

Whatever we have, if there is anything to be done in the revenue sector, it will definitely be waived, he said. We have considered in the past, will still be considered.

He was responding to a question from reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement online on Wednesday (September 16).

Onion prices have shot up in the country's market following reports of a halt in India's onion exports. In this regard, the Ministry of Commerce has taken various steps. A letter has been sent to the NBR to reduce the import duty on onions by 5 per cent. Even then the price of onion is going up, people are suffering. Asked what steps he would take to alleviate the suffering, the finance minister said, we do not want the people to suffer. None of us, starting from the Prime Minister, expect this. Whatever we have, if there is anything to be done in the revenue sector, it will definitely be discounted. We have considered in the past, will still be considered.

Asked how he would view the nefarious intentions of businessmen as a businessman, Mustafa Kamal said, how did you know that I was a businessman in the first place? I was a chartered accountant. As well as owning an audit firm, what kind of business would you call working there? Secondly, have any of my businesses caught your eye in the last 10 years from this moment? Where did you get this information? I was a businessman, what business can I still do? I can't do business if I am a minister now. It's illegal. And I don't do business. Well you all know, I sold everything a long time ago.

Asked what action he would take for dishonest traders, he said, “I had a little part. If we increase the revenue for any reason, if the price goes up for that reason, the Ministry of Finance is responsible for it. And the rest is the work of the Ministry of Commerce. I think the Ministry of Commerce is taking care of this. There were problems in the past, but they were solved later. And I don't have to say anything to traders. Now that has been discussed so clear message.

Replying to a question about ADB, the finance minister said, ADB works all year round. And we do it once a year. They do it more than once a year. They didn't say bad things about us, they said good things. We started working. They said our GDP growth will be 6.8%.

ADB said in their overview that Bangladesh has started slowly. We are moving forward, albeit slowly. We have to go far. We will do that with everyone. We said 5.2% last year. We have achieved that 5.24%. Our expectation this year is 8.2 percent of what we didn't do last year.

However, this year we hope to achieve the projection in the budget. We are working to fulfill that dream; people are working for the development of this country by giving their all. If we can do 6.8 percent, then we will be number 3 among all the countries in South East Asia, not South Asia. And what was 5.24% last year is also the highest in the region. Now this year also 6.8% considering that, then only India and China are above us. I think we are doing well. This is no less an achievement for us.