Private companies to be allowed to import rice: Minister
To keep the rice market stable, the government has taken a decision to allow private firms to import rice, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said on Monday. “A summary of the meeting with resolution will be sent to the Prime Minister for final decision,” he said while talking to reporters after a meeting of Food Planning and Containment Committee at the Secretariat. During the meeting, discussion was held on duty-free rice import after ensuring that farmers and others concerned are not affected by the decision, he said. Also read: Rice price coming down after anti-hoarding drive: Food Minister However, the final decision will come from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Talking about the drives against illegal hoarding of rice, Sadhan said already people have started getting the benefits of the drives and the drives against illegal ricer hoarders will continue. Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Md Tajul Islam, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim and State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman were present at the virtual meeting. Also read: Rice cannot be packaged for sale after buying those from open market: Minister
Rice cannot be packaged for sale after buying those from open market: Minister
The government will not allow packaging of rice for sale after buying those from open market, said Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder on Wednesday. He also blamed six major industrial groups – Square Group, Pran Group, City Group, Akij Group, Bashundhara Group and ACI Group - for the sudden rise in rice prices in the country's market. “We are planning whether a circular can be issued restricting sale of rice in packets after buy those from the domestic market,” he said in a response to a question from reporters on the rice prices hike at the Secretariat. Also read: Strict action if anyone tries to destabilise rice market: Food Minister “They may import rice paying 67 percent tax and sell those in packets. It is under discussion.” “We have prepared a summary of the circular to send it to the Prime Minister. Besides, the Agriculture Secretary, the Food Secretary, the Commerce Secretary and the Industry Secretary will hold a meeting over the issue,” said the minister. If these companies have their own mill they can pack rice there. But the government will not allow the rice to be packaged after being collected from the market, he added. Even if the industries have their own mill, they will not be able to stockpile rice beyond the approved amount as mentioned in license, said the minister. On Monday, the Food Ministry launched a drive against illegal rice hoarders on instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to keep the price within the purchasing capacity of consumers and to keep the supply normal. She was also ordered taking action if anyone stockpiles rice illegally. The food minister said they received information of illegal rice hoarding by Square Group and Akij Group in two places of the country. “We have found an extra 5,000 metric tonnes of rice worth Tk 40 crore in a godown of Square Group in Dinajpur,” he said. And the godown has been sealed and the authorities have been sued, he added. Also read:Drives against illegal rice hoarders begin Six companies were found to pack rice for sale at Tk 80-85 per kg after buying those at Tk 60-65 per kg in Naogaon, Dinajpur, Bogura districts. “We have also found that those who are not rice traders are also stockpiling rice including brick kilns owners and primary school teachers,” he added. He also urged the consumers not to stockpile rice for 4-5 months making the market unstable. Sadhan Chandra also said the price will be normalised by importing rice if necessary to punish the rice syndicate. He said, “We harvested Boro, then Aush will be harvested, and by this time Aman season will arrive.”
The food minister irked by rising rice prices
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder on Monday asked the officials to find out why rice prices are going up despite a bumper yield of Boro paddy in the country. “The rational prices of paddy and rice were fixed this year. It is not expected at all that the rice mill owners would increase the prices at their whim,” he said, joining a virtual meeting from his official residence in the city. Read: Boro procurement drive must be successful at any cost: Food Minister The minister said the government will continue its efforts to keep the rice prices at a tolerable level. The meeting was held to review the progress of the government’s programme to procure Boro paddy and rice in Khulna and Barishal divisions. Sadhan Chandra said the rice prices saw no hike in montns of Chaitra and Boishakh. He directed the food directorate officials to ensure 75 per cent of the Boro collection and make the procurement programme a success by collecting paddy and rice as per the guidelines issued by the food ministry. The food minister stressed the need for the regular market monitoring with the help of the district administration to keep the rice prices stable. He asked the field-level food officials to show sincerity to collect the Boro rice from the mill owners as per the agreement. “Otherwise, actions will be taken against the officials alongside the mill owners,” Sadhan warned. Food Secretary Dr Nazmanara Khanum also spoke at the meeting, presided over by additional director general of food Abdul Aziz Molla. The field-level officials joined the meeting virtually from Khulna and Barishal divisions, said a handout.