Centre cuts agri-cess on crude palm oil

The Centre on Monday said it has reduced the Agri-cess on crude palm oil (CPO) from 7.5 per cent to 5 per cent. This will benefit the domestic edible oil refiners and also check prices of cooking oils, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said.

In a statement, the ministry said, “With a view to provide further relief to consumers and to keep in check any further rise in the prices of domestic edible oils due to rise in the prices of edible oils globally, the Government of India has reduced the agri-cess for Crude Palm Oil (CPO) from 7.5% to 5% with effect from 12th February, 2022.”

“After reduction of the agri-cess, the import tax gap between CPO and Refined Palm Oil has increased to 8.25%. The increase in the gap between the CPO and Refined Palm Oil will benefit the domestic refining industry to import crude oil for refining,” the ministry said.

The move comes at a time when edible oil prices have remained at higher level for last several months.

“Oil industry is being called for a meeting tomorrow (February 15) to do their best in passing on the benefit to consumers and State Governments have been requested to enforce stock limit order strictly,” it added.

According to the data available on the ministry’s website, on 14th February, 2022, the all-India average retail price of groundnut oil was reported at Rs 178.80 per kg, mustard oil at Rs 189.23 per kg, vanaspati Rs 140.99 per kg, soya oil Rs 147.22 per kg, sunflower oil 161.37 per kg and palm oil Rs 130.66 per kg. The average retail prices of these six edible oils are higher in the range 10.05% to 31.97% when compared to the prices a year ago.

The ministry said, “Another pre-emptive measure taken by the government to check the prices of edible oils is to extend the current basic rate of import duty of zero percent on Crude Palm Oil, Crude Soyabean oil and Crude Sunflower Oil upto 30th September, 2022.”

“The rate of import duty on Refined Palm Oils at 12.5%, Refined Soyabean oil and Refined Sunflower Oil at 17.5% will remain in force up to 30th September, 2022. This measure will help in cooling down the prices of edible oils which are witnessing an upward trend in the international market due to lower availability and other international factors,” the ministry said.

“The above steps will augment the earlier measure taken by the Government viz. the stock limit order dated 3rd February, 2022 vide which the Government had specified the stock limit quantities on edible oils and oilseeds for a period upto 30th June, 2022 under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955,” the Ministry said.

“This measure is expected to curtail any unfair practices like hoarding, black marketing etc. of edible oils and oilseeds in the market which may lead to any increase in the prices of edible oils,” it said.

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