Bangladesh cancels importing rice from Myanmar in wake of military takeover

The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase, the highest approval body of the government, rejected the proposal placed by the Directorate General of Food to make the bulk import of Sunned rice under a government to government (G-to-G) agreement.

“We’ve turned down the proposal considering the current situation in Myanmar although there was an agreement signed between the two countries,” Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, head of the Cabinet body, told reporters following the meeting of the committee on Wednesday.

He defended the government’s decision and said that such purchase is made through banking arrangement by opening letter of credit.

“Until a shipment reaches the country, the bank will not make the payment to the buyer. So, there will be no chance for any loss by the government,” he added.

Myanmar army took control of the country toppling the democratically elected government recently which created a volatile situation in the Bangladesh’s East Asian neighbor.

However, the Cabinet body approved some other proposals including wheat import from Russia and Argentina.

The Cabinet body approved a proposal of the Directorate General of Food for import of 100,000 MT of wheat from Russian state-owned ‘Prodintorg’ Myasnitskaya under a government to government contract at a cost of Tk 309.52 crore in which each metric ton will cost $365.

Another proposal of the Directorate of Food was also approved by the committee to import 50,000 MT of wheat from Argentina at a cost of Tk 149.66 crore in which each metric ton will cost $352.98.

The committee approved two separate proposals on fertiliser import by the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) under the Agriculture Ministry from OCP of Morocco.

Of these, some 440,000 MT of DAP fertiliser will be imported at a cost of Tk 2,155.77 crore while 360,000 MT of TAP fertiliser will be imported at a cost of Tk 1,337.19 crore from the Moroccan company.

The committee gave its nod to a proposal of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) to import 30,000 MT of phosphoric acid from two firms-1. Gentrade FZE, UAE and 2. Aris Fertiliser Group Pte, Singapore, at a cost of Tk 106.24 crore.

A proposal of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) under the Power Division to award a contract to local firm Ideal Electrical Enterprise Ltd., to supply and install 6 power substations on turnkey basis at a cost of Tk 69.04 crore received approval of the Cabinet body.

These substations will be set up in different locations in Mymensingh under the Power Distribution Development Project, Mymensingh.

The committee re-approved a proposal of the Rajshahi WASA to award the Tk 2,711.87 crore contract to Hunan Construction Engineering Group Co. Ltd., to construct a surface water treatment plant in Rajshahi.

The change in the name of the firm required the re-approval of the Cabinet body, said Cabinet Division’s additional secretary Dr Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal while briefing on the issue.

A proposal of the Roads and Highways Department to re-process the purchase of 65 rakers from Ensol Multiclean Equipments Pvt. Ltd., India at a cost of Tk 104.98 crore was approved.

The purchase will be completed under the Road infrastructure constructions, repairing, and maintenance project of the Roads and Highways Department.