20,000 MT of rice from Myanmar for $ 9.2 m

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

A proposal made by Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana to import 20,000 metric tonnes (MT) of rice at a cost of $ 9.2 million from Myanmar has been granted approval by the Cabinet of Ministers.

According to the Government Information Department, the said stock of rice will be imported to Sri Lanka on the basis of a government-to-government agreement between Sri Lanka and Myanmar, at a cost of $ 460 per MT. The import will be made through the State Trading (General) Corporation (STC).

In September 2021, approval was given by the Cabinet to import 100,000 MT of rice, thus enabling the country to keep sufficient buffer stocks of rice in the country, following a proposal submitted to the effect by Dr. Gunawardana.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet media briefing yesterday (30 November), Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana stated that the rice to be imported from Myanmar will be sold through Sathosa outlets islandwide. He also said that it is hoped to stabilise the price of rice by maintaining a buffer stock of rice in the country.

Attempts to contact Trade Ministry Secretary Bhadranie Jayawardhana to inquire into further details with regard to the import, proved futile.

Following cabinet approval to import 100,000 MT of rice, The Morning, on 6 October 2021, reported that the Trade Ministry, which is tasked with importing the said stock, is to import a portion of the 100,000 MT rice stock from India, while the rest will be imported from Myanmar and Pakistan. Jayawardhana, at the time, told The Morning that suppliers from India, Myanmar, and Pakistan have expressed their consent to supply the consignment. When queried whether there is a specific quantity of rice to be purchased from the above three countries, she said that it would be decided based on the suppliers’ capacity. “The quantity of rice that can be supplied by the relevant supplier is imported according to the tender procedure.”