Muhith, Azam at daggers drawn over jute

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:05, Mar 08,2018 | Updated: 01:09, Mar 08,2018

 
 

AMA Muhith , Mirza Azam

Finance minister AMA Muhith and state-minister for textile and jute Mirza Azam traded barbs for the last few days over the status of jute, once known as the golden fibre and main export material of the country.
On Wednesday too, AMA Muhith took a swipe at state-minister for textile and jute Mirza Azam by saying that state-owned jute mills under Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation should be abolished for the revival of jute.
The lost glory of jute would never return with the current activities by the ministry and the BJMC, he said being asked by journalists at secretariat to make comment on recent statement by Mirza Azam.
Muhith said that the corporation, which was already given a lot of money, should be abolished and that it had nothing to do with the revival of jute.
He also noted that the jute ministry was under the clutches of the corporation.
The revival of jute should be based on public private partnership, he rather suggested.
Meanwhile, Mirza Azam on the day at a discussion on
development in jute sector said that much development in the sector took place under the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina but finance minister has no sympathy for the sector.
Azam said that he had been struggling to get jute sector enlisted as processed agricultural goods sector for the last two years.
He said that some positive developments took place recently following increased concentration of media on the issue and hoped that there would be a positive conclusion within a week as regards the issue.
Earlier, on Monday, at a roundtable in the capital, Azam said that the finance minister was the main obstacle in the way of revival of jute industry as a proposal for recognising jute as an agricultural product remained pending for past two years at the ministry of finance.   
Available data show that BJMC incurred a loss of Tk 481.90 crore in the last fiscal year 2016-2017.
According to the ministry, the corporation managed to trim down its losses by reducing the number of jute purchase centres to 64 from 147 and increasing demand for jute in domestic market following an act stipulating mandatory jute packaging.
The BJMC identified some reasons for the losses, including an excess number of labourers working in factories, fall in export of jute and jute goods, institutional incapacity and corruption. 

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