By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
If the government can sell this amount of rice, about 6 million tonnes will remain in its warehouses.
Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said yesterday that 2.18 million tonnes of the total up for auction would be supplied for export and sale via direct purchases by rice traders, 730,000 tonnes would be open for bidding to supply domestic consumption, while the remainder would be rotting rice for supply to feed-meal and other non-food industries.
She said the government now expected strong market demand, so the next few months would be a good time to release more stockpiled rice, before the main harvest season.
Moreover, because of the expected delay of the main crop and lower rice output – down from about 31 million tonnes of paddy in 2015 to 27 million tonnes this year – many private traders should be interested in taking part in the bidding, she added.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry has asked Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to consider signing into force a letter calling for compensation totalling Bt20 billion from four politicians and two former government officials allegedly involved in a bogus government-to-government rice deal, before the case expires in February next year.
Duangporn said that now that the Council of State had sent the case documents back to her ministry, the ministry had the authority to request the PM to consider whether to sign the letter himself, or to allow Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn to sign the document.
Once the letter is signed, the ministry will be able to proceed with its petition on the basis of required judicial force in seeking compensation from the former ministers and officials.
With the case expiring at the end of February 2017, it is important that the prime minister and the commerce minister accelerate proceedings, she said.