The government has moved to import some 220,000 tonnes of fertiliser on an emergency basis, aiming to avert any possible crisis in agricultural input supply in the country, reports UNB.
The state-owned BCIC (Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation) had to initiate the move because of the energy ministry's decision to suspend gas supply to state-owned fertliser factories, officials at the Industries Ministry said.
As per the decision, the BCIC has already invited an international tender and selected two bidders to supply 100,000 tonnes of bagged granular fertiliser.
Of the bulk fertiliser, some 75,000 tonnes of fertiliser will be imported through Chittagong port while the remaining 25,000 through Mongla port for facilitating the smooth distribution of the agro-input throughout the country.
According to an Industry Ministry document, obtained by the news agency, the decision to suspend gas supply to fertliser factories was communicated in a coordination meeting on gas supply on November 7 last.
The meeting was attended by the energy secretary, agriculture secretary and other top officials of the Industries Ministry and BCIC.
Presiding over the meeting, State-Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid conveyed the government decision to suspend gas supply to Jamuna Fertliser Factories from January next and other factories any time.
After the meeting, the Industries Ministry discussed the issue with the Agriculture Ministry and Prime Minister's Office and received the instruction to immediately move for the import of 220,000 tonnes of fertiliser on an emergency basis.
"Because, the peak season for fertiliser will start from January and continue till March. So, the move was initiated as part of the government's strategy to build a buffer stock to avert any crisis," said a senior official at the BCIC.
They said the government set a demand for fertiliser at 2.5 million tonnes for the fiscal year 2017-18 and stock reserve at 800,000 tonnes.
Of this, 1.04 million was targeted to be produced locally through state-owned factories and the remaining amount was targeted to import from different countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
But the decision to suspend gas supply to local factories came as big blow which prompted the BCIC to move for the urgent import of fertiliser to tackle any possible crisis, said the official.
He, however, informed that the BCIC floated international tender (quotation) to import a total of 220,000 mt of fertiliser. But the decision was made for the import of 100,000 mt of fertiliser in this phase because of big price gap between that of the bidders and the government's estimated cost.
The government estimated the cost of per metric tonne of urea fertiliser at $291.25 for Chittagong Port and $306.68 for Mongla Port. But the bidders have offered a much higher rate.
Finally, the lowest bidders' price offer of $310 per tonne was accepted for a number of lots for the fertliser supply through Chittagong port and $319.50 for Mongla port and finally two companies were selected for the supply of 100,000 mt of urea fertiliser.
Of these, South Korean Posco Daewoo will supply 25,000 tonnes through Chittagong port and 25,000 through Mongla port while Potton Traders of Dhaka will supplythe remaining 50,000 tonnes through Chittagong portat the agreed price.
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