Won’t buy more rice: Finance Minister
Govt allows 1.5 lakh tonnes of rice import from India
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said strict restrictions have been put in place to prevent coronavirus transmission among the public. The decision to lockdown has been taken keeping the safety of the people in mind. "Everyone knows the reason for the lockdown," he said. Those concerned will take action in this regard.
The Minister said at a virtual meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement chaired by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday. The virtual meeting was attended by committee members, senior secretaries of cabinet departments, secretaries of concerned ministries and senior officials. The Finance Minister said, "All the incentive packages to deal with the loss of coronavirus have been conceived by the Prime Minister. It has been announced by the Ministry of Finance and we have implemented these packages."
"We will not buy more rice," he said. If we buy more, our farming community will suffer. I will not buy extra wheat so that our consumers do not have to suffer, he added.
Meanwhile, the government will bring in another 1.5 lakh tonnes of rice from India to boost the country's food stock.
The Minister on Wednesday gave a go-ahead to the import proposals in two cabinet committee meetings.
Some 1 lakh tonnes of rice will be imported from the National Federation of Farmers' Procurement, Processing and Retailing Cooperatives of India Ltd, an Indian government organisation on agriculture.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs approved the import, the price of which will be decided later after government to government negotiations between the two neighbouring countries.
Another 50,000 tonnes of rice will be taken from M/S PK Agri Link Private Ltd-a private company-at a cost of around Tk 175 crore, according to the proposal okayed by the cabinet committee on public purchase.
Despite the government's several initiatives since January this year, rice stock of Bangladesh is declining every day.
As of April 4, Bangladesh had 4.88 lakh tonnes of food in stocks, of which 3.99 lakh tonnes was rice.
Besides this, the government has appointed six consulting firms at a cost of Tk 243.17 crore to conduct feasibility study and formulate a master plan for the construction of bridges over Shariatpur-Chandpur and Gazaria-Munshiganj roads on the Meghna River.