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No bar to food grains import from Russia

Says Tipu Munshi

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 26 August, 2022 12:00 AM
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No bar to food grains import from Russia

There is no barrier to importing food grains from Russia and Ukraine as 24 global banks have agreed to provide Letter of Credit (LC) confirmation for the imports, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said on Thursday.

The commerce minister informed this after a meeting on import payment method at the Cabinet Division conference room at the secretariat.

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry attended the meeting chaired by Tipu Munshi.

“We’ve discussed two issues—problems in importing food grains from Russia and Ukraine and overall food stock situation,” he told reporters.

“We’ve tried to inform all that there is no problem in food import from Russia and Ukraine,” he added.

The commerce minister also said that there are no sanctions on fertiliser and food imports from Russia and Ukraine.

For importing food items from another country, Letter of Credit (LCs) must be issued but the exporting country might not accept LCs of all banks. In this case, they need confirmation from credible banks operating across the globe.

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder added: “Discussions were held on easy food grain import and convenient payment system.”

In reply to a question, he claimed that rice price has already started falling with the news of Open Market Sale (OMS) of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) and the government’s food-friendly programme from September 01.

He also expressed hope that the rice market will be stable once these campaigns fully come into operation.

Under the OMS programme, some 10 million cardholders of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) can also buy 10kg of rice at a lower price from 1 September, according to Sadhan.

The whole world, the densely populated low-income countries, in particular, faced a huge food and fuel crisis since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war on February 24 which triggered a barrage of sanctions on Russia from the western countries.

Bangladesh’s import of wheat from Russia and Ukraine, a major global source of food grain, was severely affected as the ongoing war has disrupted export and import from these countries.

Flour price has now skyrocketed from Tk 55 to Tk 60 per kg from Tk 33-35 per kg before the start of the war.

In reply to a question, the minister informed that the meeting held discussions with the pharmaceutical companies to devise ways how to boost medicine exports.

Prime Minister’s private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman told reporters that no alternative currency will be required to import food and fertilizer from Russia as these items are out of US sanction.

No discussions were held in the meeting with regard to oil import from Russia because the US put a ban on Russian oil export.   

 However, he said: “The government will import fuel from where it would get the cheapest rate.”

He said an elaborate discussion was held to export medicine to Russia as demand for medicine has increased in Russia after the start of the war, adding that drug producers has put forward some proposals for increasing medicine exports there, including issue of registration and other procedures.