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Vietnam to supply majority of 250,000 MT rice import

The question of whether or not to import rice led to one undersecretary being fired earlier this year. The government decided to import rice after all. File photo
MANILA, Philippines — Six companies from Southeast Asia, four from Vietnam, will likely supply the 250,000 metric tons of rice as part of the planned government to private sector importation scheme to boost the country’s dwindling buffer stock.
 
During the bidding on Tuesday, the National Food Authority announced that four companies from Vietnam, one from Singapore and one from Thailand had the lowest bids for the procurement of the 250,000 MT, out of the 16 companies that submitted their bids.
 
There were 21 companies that actually bought bid documents but only 18 arrived for the bidding process. Of the 18, two did not drop their bids and one failed due to the lack of statement of its ongoing contract.
 
The rice imports (25 percent broken, well-milled, long grain white rice) was divided into eight lots: six lots of 25,000 MT each and two lots of 50,000 MT each. A bidder can bid for a maximum of 50,000 MT only.
 
For the first lot of 50,000 MT in La Union and Batangas ports, Singaporean company Olam International Ltd. had the lowest offer of $413.89 per MT for a total of $20.6 million. 
 
Vietnamese Tan Long Group Joint Stock Co. bid and had the lowest offer for Lots 2 and 3, both in Manila at 25,000 MT each, at $414 per MT and $409 per MT, respectively. 
 
Another Vietnamese company Hiep Loi Food Joint Stock Co. submitted the lowest bid for 25,000 MT in Tabaco at a price of $425. 90 per MT. 
 
For Lot 5 in Cebu and Lot 6 in Cagayan de Oro, Vietnam-based Gia International Corp. had offered the lowest price at $421. 64 per MT and $415.65 per MT, respectively. 
 
Thai Capital Cereals Co. Ltd., meanwhile, submitted the lowest for Lot 7 in Davao and General Santos at $431.7 per MT. 
 
Lastly, Vietnam Southern Food Corp. had the lowest bid for Lot 8 in Manila at $424.45 per MT.
 
Reference price for the importation was set at $451.08 per MT based on the foreign exchange rate of $1.00 = P50.
 
The total amount of all bidders reached P$104.86 million or P5.2 billion, saving the government around $8 million or P400 million.
 
The NFA has allotted a total of P5.6 billion for the procurement of the volume.

Savings will return to NFA

“The savings will go back to the funds of the NFA,” NFA deputy administrator and Special Bids and Awards Committee chair Tomas Escarez said. 
 
With regards to the failed bidding of Singsong Ltd. from Hong Kong, Escarez said the company will be given three days to submit their justification.
 
“But, this will in no way affect the calendar of activities,” he added.
 
NFA said winning bidders shall still be subjected to post-qualification evaluation on July 27 to 28. If they qualify, the Notice of Award shall be issued on July 31, and a Notice to Proceed shall be issued August 3.
 
Rice deliveries shall be staggered from August to September, with a total of 120,000 MT expected to arrive in August and 130,000 MT to arrive in September. 
 
NFA said rice must be shipped in break bulk where packing shall be in 50 kilograms net each in woven polypropylene bags suitable for rice export with NFA markings, designs and specifications.
 
Winning bidders shall deliver the goods free of obligations and expenses of NFA up to NFA’s designated warehouses.

Buffer stock down to four days

Current NFA inventory can only last for four days compared to its mandated buffer stock.
 
The NFA is mandated to maintain a food security reserve good for at least 15 days at any given time.
 
This July, which marks the onset of the lean season for rice, the NFA must have at least a 30-day buffer stock to meet the requirements of victims of calamities and emergencies.
 
Based on computations, the 250,000 MT can only cover for additional seven days.
 
Following the 32,000 MT daily consumption of the country, at least 544,000 MT is needed to maintain the agency’s buffer stocking mandate.
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