The government is going to appoint a UK-based research organisation, National Oceanography Centre, to conduct studies on the existence of mineral resources in the Bay of Bengal.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs at a meeting yesterday approved a proposal of the foreign affairs ministry. The meeting was presided over by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
The studies would be on gas hydrates on the seabed, a solid ice-like form of water that contains gas molecules, mostly methane, which is the primary component of natural gas.
The organisation has been asked to submit a report in this regard within a year, the minister told reporters after the meeting at the Secretariat.
Law Minister Anisul Huq, a member of the cabinet committee, said such studies would be very necessary for searching for the existence of oil and gas in the Bay.
Replying to a query about the possibility of finding oil and gas in the Bay, Kamal said India and Myanmar have already found such resources.
With the research organisation also giving hopes of the existence, the government expects to find them, he added.
At the meeting, the committee approved another proposal of the education ministry to purchase instruments such as laptops and projectors for multimedia classrooms directly from Telephone Shilpa Sangstha Limited, a government-run company.
Kamal said the government decided to buy the products from local companies only if the quality was ensured. As a result, both cost and time could be saved.
Meanwhile, at another meeting, the cabinet committee on purchase approved seven proposals, including that on import of wheat and fertiliser.
Nasima Begum, additional secretary to the cabinet division, briefed journalists on the proposals after the meeting at the secretariat. The finance minister presided over the meeting as well.
One of the proposals is on the import of 50,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser. Half of it will cost $337.21 per tonne and the remaining $336.21 per tonne. Proton Traders Private Limited, a local company, will supply it. Another proposal is on the import of 50,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia at a cost of $294.95 per tonne. Singapore-based Agrocorp International Pte Ltd would provide it.
At the meeting, the committee approved another proposal to construct a 20-storey building at Tk 195.69 crore for government officials at Azimpur Government Colony.
Containing 152 flats each of 1,800 square feet, the building will be constructed by GKB and Company Private Limited, a local construction firm, Nasima said.
The committee approved another proposal worth Tk 93.45 crore to pay bills of internet and other network services at government offices across the country.
The bills will be paid to service providers Fiber@Home Limited, Summit Communications and Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited, she said.