NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday scrapped basic customs duty on crude varieties of palm, soyabean and sunflower oil till March 2022 and also slashed agri-cess on these items in a move aimed at bringing down prices during the festive season. Edible oil industry body, SEA, said retail prices of edible oils could now come down by Rs 10 to Rs 15 per litre soon.
As per notifications issued by the finance ministry on Wednesday, the duty cuts will be effective from October 14 and will remain in force till March 31, 2022. Post this reduction, the effective customs duty on crude varieties of palm, soyabean and sunflower oil will be 8.2% , 5.5% and 5.5% respectively.
Besides, the basic customs duty on refined varieties of sunflower, soyabean, palmolein and palm oil has been slashed to 17.5% each from the current 32.5%.
Sources said facing a herculean task to tame the rising edible oil prices forced the government to bite the bullet of reducing agri-cess. According to the notification, crude palm oil will now attract agri-infrastructure development cess (AIDC) of 7.5%, while the rate will be 5% for crude soyabean oil and crude sunflower oil. Earlier, cess on imported crude palmolein oil was 17.5 % and 20% on crude sunflower and soybean oils.
Solvent Extractors’ Association of India executive director BV Mehta said, “The government has taken the right step to bring relief to consumers. We have one concern that the decision comes at a time when farmers are harvesting soya and groundnuts crops. There is a possibility this may bring down market prices and lower price realisation by farmers.”