TCB granted import waiver

The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) can from now on import and market any kind of essential goods and commodities without prior approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The Cabinet body in a meeting with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the chair on Wednesday approved the waiver to the TCB, that operates as a state-owned marketing firm.

Following the meeting, the finance minister while briefing newsmen said the waiver has been granted to the TCB in order to expedite its process for importing essential goods of any kind as deemed necessary, with no limits placed on quantity, to tackle any possible crisis in the local market.

Previously, the TCB had to follow a lengthy process that typically took over one month to get the permission to import products from aboard or even to collect them from local market which ultimately undermined its efforts to keep markets stable.

Mustafa Kamal said that from now on the TCB or Commerce Ministry would not need to follow this process and can take their own decision to import essential goods without the Cabinet body’s approval.

Sources in the Commerce Ministry said earlier the TCB was allowed to import and market only a limited number of essential items like sugar, lentil, dates, onion, garlic and turmeric in limited quantities.

They said a stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Commerce Ministry on July 24 against the backdrop of sudden rise in prices of spices and essential commodities ahead of Eid-ul-Azha identified the limitations of the TCB when it came to importing items in an expedited manner.

The Finance Minister said the new waiver to the procurement rule will help TCB to overcome its limitations and play its due role to stabilise the market by importing essential goods through this emergency move.