Govt to import 3.5 lakh MT more rice

The government will import 350,000 metric tons of rice more in the coming days as the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its nod in principle to a proposal of the Directorate General of Food on Wednesday.

The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase also approved two separate proposals for the import of liquified natural gas (LNG) from the global spot market.

On Wednesday last, the same committee approved another similar proposal of the Directorate of Food for the import of 550,000 metric tons of rice from different sources.

Earlier this year, a number of proposals for the import of different quantity of rice were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase.

After giving the latest approval for rice import, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the government’s move is part of minimising the risk of any possible food shortage.

“Actually, we’ve taken an initiative to avert any risk of food shortage in the country,” he told reporters while briefing on the decisions the two committees took in their meetings.

As per the proposals placed by the Ministry of Food, some 150,000 MT of non-bashmoti parboiled rice will be imported from India’s Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd (PUNSUP) while another 150,000 MT of similar rice from Sakonnakhon National Farmers Council, Office of The Prime Minister of Thailand. Similarly, 50,000 MT will be imported by the Directorate General of Food from Vietnam’s Southern Food Corporation (VINAFOOD).

All these imports will be made through the direct procurement method through negotiations.

“The prices of the rice are yet to be settled and these will be imported government-to-government (G-to-G) contracts,” said the Finance Minister adding that Bangladesh Embassies in those countries were asked to negotiate with the governments for the prices.

After finalising the prices, the import proposals will be placed again before the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase for its final approval, he mentioned.

Besides, two separate proposals of the state-owned Petrobangla under Energy and Mineral Resources Division received approval for the import of the liquified natural gas (LNG) from the global spot market.

As per the proposals, 3.36 MMBTU (million British thermal unit) of LNG will be imported from AOT Trading AG, Switzerland at Tk 278.70 crore with $8.345 per unit price, while another same quantity of LNG will be imported from Vitol Asia Pte Ltd., Singapore at Tk 248.53 crore with $7.44 per unit price.

The committee also approved a proposal of the Roads and Highways Department for awarding contract for the improvement of Kurigram (Dasherhat) Nageswari-Bhurungamari-Sonahat Land Port Road to the national highway.

Moyenddin (Bashi) Limited won the contract involving Tk 136.24 crore.

Source: United News of Bangladesh