The government is set to import 2.5 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice under a state-to-state arrangement and competitive bidding as part of its aggressive push to boost stocks.
The cabinet committee on purchase yesterday approved the proposal for import of 1.5 lakh tonnes of rice for $465 per tonne from Thailand through government arrangement.
The committee also approved another proposal for importing 1 lakh tonnes of rice through open tender for Tk 43,440 to Tk 44,330 per tonne. The rice will be delivered in 38 lots to 38 government silos across the country.
When converted to dollar, the per tonne price of rice, including freight to silo, would come to $523 to $534. As per food ministry calculation, one dollar equals Tk 83.
In recent months, the government has moved to import rice through competitive bidding, which tends to be lower than the price obtained under government-to-government arrangements.
But in this case, the price is about $100 more than the earlier imports made through competitive bidding.
Of the 38 lots, 36 will be imported by M/s Rabiul Islam, who won another contract on October 11 to supply 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice through competitive bidding -- for $427 per tonne.
However, there was no clause in the earlier contract that the rice would have to be delivered to the silos.
Earlier, the committee gave the green light to the import of 1 lakh tonnes of rice from India on a state-to-state basis for $455 per tonne.
It also approved the import of 1 lakh tonnes of white rice from Myanmar early this month for $442 per tonne under a similar arrangement.
And in June, the government imported 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice for $470 per tonne from Vietnam under a government-to-government arrangement.
Since June, the government took up an aggressive approach to import rice after production was badly struck by flash floods and fungal attacks.
The flash floods in the six northeastern haor districts and fungal attacks (rice blast) in 19 districts during the boro season led to the loss of 20 lakh tonnes of the staple, according to food ministry.
Subsequently, the government also decided to import 20 lakh tonnes of food grains -- 15 lakh tonnes of rice and 5 lakh tonnes of wheat -- this fiscal year.
This is 11 lakh tonnes more than the government's earlier projected food import volume of 9 lakh tonnes.
Due to food crisis, the import of rice at both the government and private levels have picked up.
From July 1 to October 4, 10.78 lakh tonnes of rice was imported, of which the government brought in 2.94 lakh tonnes.
Last fiscal year the government did not import any rice. However, at the private level 13.30 lakh tonnes of rice was imported, a major portion of which was towards the end of the year.
The cabinet committee on purchase approved another proposal, the construction of Shahjibazar 100 MW simple cycle power plant for about Tk 827 crore.
Among the three bidders, M/s HEI-ETERN CCCEJV landed the job by quoting the lowest figure.
The committee also approved another power project under the Private Sector Power Generation Policy. A 530 to 590 MW duel fuel combined cycle power plant will be set up at Meghna Ghat in Narayanganj.
A consortium of Summit Corporation and GE will set up the power plant under a Build-Own-Operate basis.
The government will purchase electricity from the 22-year tenure power plant at three different rates.
If it is gas based, the price will be Tk 2.9546 per kW/h. In case of LNG-based, the price will be Tk 5.4487 per kW/h, and if it is diesel based the price would be Tk 12.6051 per kW/h.