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PWO denies losing 3-million tonnes of rice

Says 'missing stock' waiting for delivery to govt warehouses

The Public Warehouse Organisation yesterday denied that it had lost as much as 3 million tonnes of rice as leaked by an audit committee source to the public, saying a figure was missing from the relevant documentation.

"Rice has not disappeared from stockpiles. The report claiming missing stock came from a June 26 [2013] survey, when some rice had been polished and was waiting for delivery to the governments' warehouses," said Chanudpakorn Vongseenin, president of the PWO, a state enterprise under the Commerce Ministry.

To clarify inventory levels, the ministry has set up a working committee to review rice stockpiles.

The ministry will promptly send a team to report to the military coup-makers' National Council for Peace and Order the rice stocks figure. The PWO and the Internal Trade Department should be able to provide the right figure to the NCPO.

Team from NPCO

To recheck the figures, the ministry's working committee will also cooperate closely with the NCPO's team to inspect rice warehouses.

According to a study by the audit committee, about 2.9 million tonnes of rice have gone missing from government warehouses.

According to the ministry's own report, about 13 million tonnes of milled rice remained in warehouses, of which 4 million tonnes already had purchasing contracts and were waiting to be delivered. The remaining 9 million tonnes were under no obligation and could be sold.

Surasak Riangkrul, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said it needed to go slowly with its rice-delivery and marketing plans until it gets clear instructions from the junta. However, rice for China under government-to-government deals will continue to be shipped out.

General Chatchai Salikalya, vice chairman of the NCPO's economic team, will today meet with senior officials of the Commerce Ministry.

The topics for discussion are expected to be rice stocks and the rice-sales plan as well as measures to drive exports and control the cost of living.


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