AQUA NEWS

FOREX SPENT ON FISH IMPORT DESPITE SELF-SUFFICIENCY

Huge foreign currencies go out for fish import despite Bangladesh being self-sufficient in fisheries production, at a time when the government goes all out to replenish its reserves. The country ranked third in fish production in the world, fifth in aquaculture and 11th in marine fish production, fishing-sector stakeholders say, as they demand restrictions on import. FAO has recognized such standing and ranked Bangladesh as eighth top fish- producing country in the world. Since June 2019 to 2020, for an instance, Bangladesh had imported marine fishes worth US$ 60 million from gulf countries, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data. The fisheries sector contributes 3.5 per cent to the national GDP of Bangladesh. Farmers said the recent list of Regulatory Duties (RD) imposed by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) could include the marine fishes as less- important import. Bangladesh Marine Fisheries Association (BMFA) demands of the government to impose a ban on import of marine fishes. The ministry, however, said considering open-market economy and consumer rights, it would not be wise to ban import of fish products from a specific region. In the fiscal year 2018-19, the country produced 43,84,221 tons of fish and shrimps. Of them, 73,171 tons were exported to other counties. “Despite significant development in fisheries sector, the country has imported marine fishes from Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Dubai and Pakistan during the last few years”. Import of fish is subject to paying 59.60% to 89.32% import taxes. Assessment value or tariff value is set at $1.25 to impose value- added tax, advance tax and advance income tax, NBR data show.