Iraq to Import 125,000 Tons of Rice Costing $65 Million
|February 23, 2011||Filled under Uncategorized|
Baghdad – The Iraqi trade Ministry announced on Monday that it has closed a deal to import 125,000 tons of rice from Thailand at a cost of $65 million in order to meet the demands of the government’s food-subsidizing ration card system.
The General Manager of the Ministry’s Grain Company Muthanna Jabbar, told AKnews that deals have been signed with two companies, the Swiss firm Omirocco and Trevor in Singapore to supply the imported grain.
“The shipments will arrive respectively within 60 days at Basra port and the imported rice is from the best brands in the world,” he said.
The four staple items covered by the ration card system are flour, sugar, rice and cooking oil. The distribution of those items to Iraqi families was delayed last year in many provinces for reasons described by the Trade Ministry as “technical”.
The ration card system accounted for around $2.9 billion in the 2010 federal budget.
A wave of public rallies has spread across the Iraqi provinces with angry protesters taking to the streets demanding better public services, employment opportunities and for the ration card system to become effectively operational.
The demonstrators say they are simply calling for the reforms promised by the political blocs during the run-up to the March 7 elections last year to be implemented.
On Sunday the Government announced the ratification of the 2011 budget amounting to over $82.6 billion. The delay in passing this year’s budget was attributed to the nine-month political deadlock following the general elections last year.
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