The total import pertaining to the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) project has emerged as the second largest 'sector' in the country's overseas procurement in the last fiscal year (FY), 2017-18.
The government has expedited the project's implementation and procurement process.
As a result, the large-scale import of items for the NPP raised the country's total import to over US$ 51 billion in FY 18.
The share of the NPP in the country's total import stood at around 18 per cent in terms of letter of credit (LC) opening, according to the Bangladesh Bank.
Industrial raw materials for other purposes retained the first position in the country's import list. Usually, the list is dominated by industrial raw materials, capital machinery, consumer goods and intermediate goods.
Rice import in FY 18 was unusually high, amounting to $1.71 billion, as many traders flooded the local market with imported rice by taking the advantage of relaxed tariff on its import.
Regarding the large-scale import for the NPP project, the officials concerned said the goods meant for the plant are expensive and mostly coming from Russia.
A senior official at Rooppur NPP told the FE that the imported items so far are mostly brought for meeting the project's field-level requirement.
"The imported goods so far we received are around 2.0 per cent of our total requirement. Many goods are in the pipeline," said Mahmud Hossain, chief engineer of the project.
He said the import calculation by the central bank is based on L/C openings. The government's imports usually become deferred L/Cs.
The nuclear power plant is under construction at Rooppur in Ishwardi under Pabna. It is situated on the bank of Padma River, and 140 kilometres west of Dhaka.
The country's first NPP is being built by the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation - Rosatom.
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