The government would import rice from Myanmar considering the cheap prices and short shipping time, Food Minister Qamrul Islam told the Jatiya Sangsad yesterday.
"Rice is being imported from Myanmar considering the cheap prices there. Besides, it will be possible to import the item within a short time,” Qamrul told parliament while responding to a supplementary question of lawmaker Nazmul Haque Prodhan.
Nazmul said the food minister recently visited Myanmar to import rice from there at a time when Bangladesh was experiencing a serious crisis due to the Rohingya influx to the country.
“Does the minister get special discounts?” he asked.
In his reply, the minister said trade and diplomatic efforts would go side by side with Myanmar.
"I went to Myanmar to buy rice from there following the prime minister's permission. The PM said diplomatic efforts will continue to resolve the Rohingya issue. But our trade with Myanmar will also continue,” Qamrul said.
Highlighting the facilities of importing rice from Myanmar, he said it would take only three days to import the rice from the country.
"We can buy the rice at a cheaper rate in comparison with Thailand and Vietnam. It takes 15 to 20 days to import rice from Thailand and Vietnam. We are buying rice from Myanmar as we will be able to import quickly,” he said.
The food minister added that the government signed an agreement with Myanmar to import 3 lakh tonnes of rice. "We will get 1.20 lakh tonnes of rice in the first phase."
Answering another question, the minister said the price of rice remains stable at present. “The rice price remains within the purchasing capacity of the people."