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Cabinet body approves wheat import from Russia

Import of soybean oil, fertilizer, and tariff rates for solar, wind power plants also get nod

FE REPORT | September 14, 2023 00:00:00

The government has approved import of 0.3 million tonnes of wheat from Russia under government-to-government arrangement at a total cost of Tk 10.32 billion or Tk 33.43 per kilogram.

The Directorate of Food will import the cereal as approved by the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase at its meeting held virtually on Wednesday, with finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the chair.

Bangladesh has taken the import decision days after the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Bangladesh when he expressed the interest to export the commodity, among other items.

Bangladesh has been facing complications over sending and receiving import and export proceeds to and from Russia following the start of Russia-Ukraine war in February last year, and the subsequent western sanctions on transactions with most of the Russian banks.

Loan repayments against the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant have also become stalled due to the complications created as the Russian banks were blocked for transactions through the financial messaging service provider SWIFT.

Md Moniruzzaman, director (CC) at the procurement division of the Directorate of Food, however, told the FE that the directorate bought 0.5 million tonnes of wheat from Russia in the last fiscal year and the payment has been made accordingly through state-owned Sonali bank Ltd.

He said the financial transactions for importing food items from Russia are not facing any difficulties until now.

The cabinet body meeting also approved the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) proposal to buy 5.0 million litres of soybean oil through open tender from Bashundhara Multi Food Products Ltd. at a total cost of Tk 799.2 million or Tk 159.85 per litre.

Moreover, the TCB is given go ahead to import 33 million litres of soybean oil from Brizo Marine SDN BHD, Malaysia through international open tender at a total cost of Tk 4.33 billion or Tk 155.93 per litre.

The meeting also approved procurement of 6,000 tonnes of lentils by the TCB through open tender from Sabnam Vegetable Oil Industries Ltd. at a total cost of Tk 581 million or Tk 96.85 per kilogram.

The committee further approved a proposal of the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) to import 100,000 tonnes of muriate-of-potash (MOP) fertiliser from Canadian Commercial Corporation at a cost of Tk 3.55 billion in two separate lots under the state-level contract where each tonne will cost $323.

The corporation was given go ahead to import 40,000 tonnes of DAP fertiliser from Morocco OCP, S.A. at a cost of Tk 2.31 billion under the state-level contract with each tonne to cost $526.

The cabinet body further approved the BADC to import 30,000 tonnes of TSP fertiliser under the state-level contract from the Morocco OCP, S.A. at a cost of Tk 1.28 billion where each tonne of fertiliser will cost $289.75.

Also, the meeting approved the tariff rates for two grid-tied solar power plants and one wind power plant from where the government will buy electricity on 'no electricity, no payment' basis.

Under an approval, the Consortium of Green Progress Renewable B.V. and IRB Associates Ltd. will set up 100 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Bochaganj Upazila of Dinajpur district and Pirganj Upazila of Thakurgaon district.

The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) will buy electricity from the project for a period of 20 years at a rate of Tk 10.8782/kWh by spending a total of Tk 35.256 billion.

Under another approval, the Consortium of Ditrolic SA International Pte and Powernetic Energy Ltd, will set up a 100 MW solar power plant in Sadar Upazila of Cox's Bazar district.

The BPDB will buy electricity from the project for a period of 20 years at the rate of Tk 10.9281/kWh by spending a total of Tk 35.424 billion.

Besides, the JT New Energy Company Ltd has been given go ahead to set up a 220 MW wind power plant at Chakoria in Cox's Bazar district and the BPDB will buy electricity from the project at the rate of Tk 13.414/kWh for a period of 20 years by spending a total of Tk 124.08 billion.

The cabinet body meeting approved a proposal to award a contract to the joint venture of Oculin Tech Bd Ltd, NuriFlex Co, and SQ Trading and Engineering to "Design, Supply, Installation, Testing, and Commissioning of Advanced Metering Infrastructure, including Upgrading Unified Prepaid System on Turnkey Basis" at a cost of Tk 4.605 billion.

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