The price of dates has increased by 40 to 60 percent in Chittagong. The price of ordinary dates has increased by Rs 100 per kg, medium quality dates by Rs 150 and high quality dates by at least Rs 200 per kg. Traders say the tariff has more than doubled the price and the addition of three new types of tax has increased the price of dates.
It has been seen in various markets of Chittagong that dates which were sold at Tk 150 before are now priced at Tk 240 to Tk 250. Dabas dates are being sold at Tk 450 to Tk 550 depending on the quality. But last year it was 300 to 340 taka. A 5 kg packet of Ajwa dates used to be sold at Tk 3,000, now it is Tk 4,200. The price of Maryam dates has increased by Tk 200 per kg to Tk 1,200.
A date seller said that compared to earlier, the average price of a 5 kg carton has increased by Tk 200 to Tk 400.
Traders say that the customs value of dates has more than doubled in the current financial year. Instead of 500 to 1 thousand dollars per ton of dates, 1 thousand to 2 thousand 750 dollars have to be paid. The new additions are 25 percent customs duty, 15 percent VAT and 3 percent regulatory duty.
Mahbub Rana, an importer of dates, said that if the price of dates was 1 dollar per kg, the duty would be 10 percent. Now it is valued at $4. Then its duty was made at the rate of 58 percent. So now we have to pay duty like 270 rupees per kg.
Borhan Uddin, another importer of dates, said that the duty has now increased a lot. If the market rate is considered then the price has increased by 150 to 200 percent.
Last fiscal year, 84 thousand tons of dates were imported through Chittagong port. This time it will be more than that.
Chittagong port plant pest control center deputy director Dr. Shah Alam said that there will be no bad effects this year. The import flow is still fine. Last year, 84 thousand 151 metric tons of dates came to the country. We hope that about 1 lakh metric tons of dates will come to the country this year.
Last year, the government imposed a new tax on dates after allegations of tax evasion and selling at high prices during Ramadan.