Cabinet body okays direct purchase of 1 lakh tonne rice from India

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:19, Apr 08,2021


The cabinet committee on economic affairs on Wednesday approved in principle a Directorate General of Food proposal to import 1 lakh tonnes of rice from India under the direct purchase method.

The National Federation of Farmers’ Procurement, Processing and Retailing Cooperatives of India Ltd will supply the rice to the directorate at around Tk 368 crore.

The decision was taken in a virtual meeting chaired by finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.

The finance minister also chaired a meeting of the cabinet committee on government purchases and approved seven proposals, including the purchase of 50,000 tonnes of rice from PK Agri Link Private Ltd of India at Tk 174.65 crore by food directorate.

According to a food ministry update, the government’s food stock stood at 4.88 lakh tonnes — 3.99 lakh tonnes of rice and 0.89 lakh tonnes of wheat — as of April 5.

On February 17, the directorate apprised the cabinet committee that the national food buffer stock was at 5.19 lakh tonnes against the demand of 24.55 lakh tonnes.

In July 2020-March 2021 of the current fiscal year, the food ministry distributed 17,48,883 tonnes of grains — 13,56,363 tonnes of rice and 3,92,520 tonnes of wheat.     

During the same period, 7,37,820 tonnes of rice were imported, of which the private sector imported 5,21,500 tonnes and the government imported 2,16,620 tonnes, said the food ministry update.

According to the update, moves have already been initiated to import 3 lakh tonnes of rice and 2 lakh tonnes of wheat to bolster the government food stock.  

Cabinet division additional secretary Shahida Akhter while briefing reporters said that a proposal of the Roads and Highways Department was approved by the purchase committee for upgrading the Ashuganj-Sarail-Dharkhar-Akhaura highway into four lanes by Afcons Infrastructure Limited of India at Tk 788.38 crore, which would be taken as loans from the Indian Line of Credit.

Two more proposals of the RHD were also approved, she said.

A joint-venture of Reliable Builders Ltd, MD Moyenuddin (Bashi) Limited and Orient Trading and Builders Ltd was awarded WP-02 works of Sharitpur- Ibrahimpur road development at Tk 103.37 crore.

Another joint Venture of Md Badrul Iqbal Ltd, Hassan Techno Builders Ltd and Oyster Construction and Shipping Company Ltd was given WP-03 works of the same road development project at Tk 106.84 crore.

The committee also approved a proposal of the Public Works Department for revaluating the WD-1 package for widening the Khunla shipyard road.

Shahida Akhter said that a proposal of the Petrobangla to purchase 33.60 lakh MMBTU liquefied natural gas from spot market to be supplied by AOT Trading AG, Switzerland at Tk 243.30 crore was approved.

Tecnica Y Proyectos SA (TYPSA), Spain,  Nippon Koei Co Ltd, Japan, DOHWA Engineering Co Ltd, South Korea, Development Design Consultants Ltd Bangladesh, BCL Associates Ltd, Bangladesh and Dev Consultants Ltd, Bangladesh were jointly awarded the feasibility study for constructing bridges on the Shariatpur-Chandpur Highway and the Gazaria-Munshiganj highway at Tk 243.18 crore under a proposal of the Bangladesh Bridges Authority.   

Earlier, the cabinet committee on economic affairs also agreed in principle that the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited would follow the procurement rules of the consortium to be connected with the South East Asia–Middle East–Western Europe 6, a proposed optical fibre submarine communications cable system.

In a meeting in December 2020, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved the project for the third submarine cable connection, SEA-ME-WE-6, at a cost of Tk 693.16 crore.

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