The government on Saturday issued a notification allowing the private sector to import wheat sans any import duty till the year-end as against a five per cent duty currently.
This will speed up wheat imports in addition to 5.5 million tonnes being imported through the government-owned State Trading Corporation (STC).
"The Department of Revenue, Central Board of Excise and Customs has notified the reduction of the customs duty on import of wheat by private trade from five to zero per cent with immediate effect up to December 31, 2006," an official statement issued on Saturday said.
The Cabinet Committee on Prices, at its meeting held on August 31, had decided that zero duty imports of wheat by private trade would be notified after STC concludes its wheat import contracts.
STC opened its tenders on September 5 for the final instalment of imports, taking the total to 5.5 million tonnes.
Government plans to beef up domestic stocks well before the next wheat harvest in mid-April to prevent a repeat of low opening stocks driving up prices, as happened this year.