Sri Lanka will resume the importation of Basmati rice from Pakistan ending the restriction of seven months via State Trading (General) Corporation, official sources said.
The Trade Ministry is also in finalising the bidding process through the state-owned State Trading Corporation (STC) for the import of 6000 metric tonnes of Basmati rice from Pakistan under Pakistan- Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement.
Earlier, the Ministry decided to revoke licences issued to local importers to import Basmati rice citing irregularities. Later, the Ministry secured Cabinet approval to import through the state entity — the STC.
“Nearly 60 percent of the procurement process has been completed so far and we are looking forward to finalising it in the coming weeks Trade Ministry Secretary Bhadranie Jayawardhana disclosed.
Sri Lanka has restricted the importation of Basmati rice under a trade agreement with Pakistan to two state firms, the government announced last year.
Earlier, the private sector was also allowed to import Basmati rice under the Pakistan – Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement that allowed 6000 metric tonnes of the rice variety to be imported annually.
However, the permission granted to the private sector has been revoked, due to complaints that were received on “various irregularities” committed by importing rice of other varieties.
Accordingly, the ministerial cabinet subcommittee has decided to allow only the state-run Sri Lanka State Trading (General) Corporation and the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment to import rice under the agreement.