Oct 23, Colombo: Sri Lanka has issued an open international tender to import a fresh tranche of rice - a first call in recent times to be issued to suppliers worldwide.
"We are making every effort to ensure that there will be no shortages for our consumers" said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen during his discussions with his top officials at the Ministry last Thursday (October 19).
"Under the directions of the government's Cost of Living Committee (CoLC) we announced on 13 October that we will import 500,000 MT rice. The aim of CoLC is to support our consumers with lowest prices and give steady supplies" he added.
The 500,000 MT announced previously on 13 October was mostly on government to government rice procurement basis. However, the latest tender which too is part of this 500,000 MT tranche, enlists a far wider supplier base and is under the International Competitive Bidding Procedure, meaning any qualifying foreign government or even a foreign private sector supplier is able to bid for the latest rice tranche-which is 200,000 MT.
The breakdown of the 200,000 MT being 90,000 MT of Parboiled Nadu rice, 60,000MT of Samba (Parboiled) rice, and 50,000 MT of White Raw rice. Sri Lankan rice importers too are eligible to take part in the latest bidding.
Of the 200,000 MT rice called for, Sri Lanka expect 100,000 MT to arrive in Colombo by end November 2017 and the other 100,000 MT to arrive by end of December 2017.
The first 8890 MT (of 100,000 MT) raw Nadu rice from India that have been brought in to Colombo Port by such container vessels as Charles Schultz and Vladivostock 12 in mid-October have now been offloaded and being transported to CWE warehouses.
The tender will close on October 30. Details of this tender call are now available online for download at http://www.industry.gov.lk/web/images/procurice.pdf
Based on assessments of rice supply capacities in many world markets at present (October 2017) the potential supply sources for the latest 200,000 MT rice are India, Pakistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam -though other destinations too could partner.
The Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) under Minister Bathiudeen which will take delivery of imports, has called for the latest international tenders and eligible bidders may obtain further information from 9am to 3pm on weekdays (Monday to Friday) until 30 October 2017 from the Procurement Unit of the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment, No. 27, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 02 (or from the above online location which specifies required documents for submission to take part in the tender). A bid security of Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) 2 Million (approximately US $ 13000) or 0.1% of the total cost of the tender, whichever is lower and 1Kg sample pack in each rice variety needs to be submitted. Late bids will be rejected. The decision of the procurement committee will be final. Even though the called amount is 200,000 MT new rice volumes would be tendered if market conditions call for more low priced rice from abroad.
According to Minister Bathiudeen and his officials, domestic Lankan rice market has faced supply pressures as three consecutive harvesting seasons (2016 & 2016/'17) failed to produce usual paddy volumes resulting in a 50% fall in domestic rice supply this year, thereby necessitating imports to the country to sustain the market.