“The government has withdrawn its pervious decision of (charging) 5 percent sales tax on black tea imports, reverting back to the standard rate of 16 percent which has badly hit the tea prices in the local market,” blenders and importers told this correspondent.
On June 2 last year, the government had reduced sales taxes on tea imports to discourage smuggling, improving the quantum of legal imports. However, this facility has been withdrawn only after eight months. Tea consumers did not get any relief even after the government reduced the incidence of sales tax rates and industry sources anticipated the prices to rise further in the days ahead. Market players also cited the devaluation of Pakistani rupee against US dollar as a major factor affecting tea prices in the local markets.
Previously, the wholesale price of ‘Danedar’ (BP-1) tea variety was Rs 540 per kg, which is now being sold at Rs 580 per kg. Its retail prices, sources said, was Rs 565 per kg. Similarly, the price of Leaf (PF-1) tea variety was Rs 565 per kg in retail markets against its previous price of Rs 520/kg.
The wholesale price of the same variety was 550 per kg, which is now being sold at Rs 560 per kg. Sources said that the price of Melenia (BP-1) brand of Indonesian black tea also witnessed a steep rise. It increased by Rs 140 per kg. Its previous wholesale price was Rs 240, and it was now being sold at Rs 380 per kg.
Retailers said that the share of low-quality Indonesian tea in the local market ranged between 30 and 40 percent. Similarly, the share of low-quality tea from Rwanda (Melandi, PF-1) was 10 percent, while its prices soared by as much as Rs 85 per kg, rising from Rs 305 per kg to Rs 390.