New Delhi, Jul 14 (PTI) The government on Wednesday said crude palm oil imports have risen nearly 10 per cent to over 20.91 lakh tonnes so far this fiscal, and the customs department is ensuring that there is no clogging at the ports and import clearance is given about 3-4 days.
In a statement, the finance ministry said there has been a 'significant increase' in the import of crude palm oil in most recent period with over 39 per cent growth between June 30 and July 12. The government had on June 30 cut basic customs duty on palm oil to bring down prices of edible oil in retail markets.
To facilitate trade and expedite the clearances, nodal officers have been nominated in all the customs zones and a standard operating procedure has also been put in place for smooth clearance.
'It is seen that the import clearance time for edible oil has come down significantly to about 3-4 days at present, which is the usual time taken for sampling, duty payment and logistics. It is being ensured that there is no clogging at the ports,' it said.
The customs department is continuously monitoring the import clearances of edible oils in co-ordination with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Also, it is also engaging with industry associations regularly.
As per the data shared by the ministry, crude palm oil imports increased 9.89 per cent to over 20.91 lakh tonnes between April 1 and July 12, 2021. The import was 19.03 lakh tonnes in the same period last year.
The imports rose 39.09 per cent to over 4.04 lakh tonnes between June 30 and July 12. In the comparable period of 2020, over 2.90 lakh tonnes crude palm oil was imported.
The ministry further said import-export policy related to edible oils, its volumes of clearances and pendency situation at ports, among others, are reviewed on weekly basis by inter-ministerial committee on prices of agricultural commodities. These are also reviewed regularly by the Committee of Secretaries and the Group of Ministers.
'Department of Consumer Affairs and Department of Food continuously monitor the retail selling prices of edible oil for assessing the need for intervention.
'Tariff and other policy interventions are normally made on the recommendations of these committees/group,' the ministry added.
The government last month had cut customs duty on edible crude palm oil from 35.75 per cent to 30.25 per cent and on refined palm oil from 49.5 per cent to 41.25 per cent. Further, import restriction of refined palm oil has also been lifted till December 31.
These measures were aimed at bringing down edible oil prices in the retail market. PTI JD HRS hrs