With that, the food ministry permitted a total of 428 firms to import some 17.2 lakh metric tonnes of rice. However, the importers will have to market the imported rice by 25 September next.

The other conditions imposed by the ministry include ensuring maximum 5 per cent broken grains among the imported rice, opening LC (Letter of Credit) within 15 days and informing the food ministry about the LC-related information through emails instantly.

Besides, the imported rice cannot be repackaged using the name of importers and the rice will have to be sold in plastic sacks. If anyone fails to open LC in the stipulated time, the permission will be cancelled, the ministry says.

Earlier, 41 firms got permission on 17 August last to import 410,000 lakh tonnes of rice, 69 firms on 18 August to import 418,000 tonnes of rice, 91 firms on 21 August to import 391,000 tonnes of rice, 73 firms on 22 August to import 222,000 tonnes of rice (boiled and unboiled ones), 41 firms on 23 August to import 94,000 tonnes of rice (boiled and unboiled ones) and 34 firms on 24 August to import 57,000 tonnes of rice (boiled and unboiled ones).

On 12 August, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a gazette notification slashing the import tariff on rice to 25 per cent from 62.5 per cent in order to keep the rice prices stable in the local market. The facility of lower import duty will remain effective till 30 October.

The imported rice has already started entering Bangladesh through land ports, the official added.

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