Apr 4, 2008

Government cuts import duty on edible oil to rein in inflation

The government on Monday, 31 March 2008, announced a slew of measures to rein in rising prices. It has scrapped import duties on all crude edible oil forms. It has cut import duty on refined palm, sunflower, soyabean, coconut oils and hydrogenated vegetable fats to 7.5%. The government has banned export of non-basmati rice, while basmati rice minimum export price has been enhanced to $1,200 per metric tonne, from $1,100 at the moment. The ban on pulses exports, already in place since last year has been extended by one more year. All these decisions came into effect from the midnight of 31 March 2008.

The import duty on butter and ghee has been cut to 30% from 40%. Import duties on maize have been abolished, from the current 15% for 5,00,000 metric tonnes under the tariff rate quota.

The Cabinet Committee on Prices (CCP) also decided that for imposition of stock limits, the removal of licensing restrictions on edible oil and oil seeds has been kept in abeyance for one year.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the government was extremely concerned over steel prices and it would advise steel makers to observe restraint (and not to raise prices).