Country’s textile millers have warned that the sector is facing a survival crisis due to smuggling of textile products and misuse of bonded warehouses and border haats with India.
‘The value of the stock of fabrics and yearns now amounts to Tk 20,000-25,000 crore as 40 per cent of total production have remained unsold since January this year as the illegally imported fabrics and yearns from India and China have been flooding the market,’ Mohammad Ali Khokon, acting president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, told reporters at the association office in Dhaka.
Although commercial imports of fabrics are negligible in quantity due to high import duty, saris, three pieces and other clothes from India, China and Pakistan are sold in huge quantity in Bangladesh, he alleged.
Khokon said that there were 3.8 lakh handlooms, 425 weaving factories and 150 dying factories across the country and the local demands for sari, lungi and other dresses were met 100 per cent by the factories.
‘But the textile mills which produce fabrics for local consumption are struggling for the last three years as they have been losing competitiveness in local market due to smuggling and illegal import of clothing fabrics through misusing bonded warehouse facilities,’ he said.
The BTMA leader said that over 8 to 10 lakh pieces of dresses, including sari, three pieces and other shirting clothes, were entering into Bangladesh illegally through 17 border markets and the items were being taken to Dhaka city through railway.
Usually local powerlooms, handlooms, spinning mills and weaving mills pass a very busy time ahead of eid, but this year a good number of mills are passing idle times due to lack of sales as illegal products are flooding the local market, the leaders of the trade body claimed.
They said that more than 50,000 powerlooms across the country have been forced to suspend productions in recent times.
According to the BTMA data, over 300 small, medium and large textiles mills have sent letters to the trade body saying that their production and sale of fabrics were about to close as fabrics imported through misusing bonded warehouse flooded the market.
They sought intervention from the National Board of Revenue and demanded the law and order enforcement agencies to prevent selling fabrics of bonded warehouse in open market.
The BTMA acting president said that their member mills could produce enough fabrics to meet 100 per cent demands of the people, but they had been losing their competitiveness as the products, which are imported illegally without paying duty, were selling at low prices.
Citing NBR data, the BTMA leaders said that commercial imports of fabrics and clothes were almost zero, whereas the market was flooded with imported fabrics and clothes.
‘It proves that the misuse of bonded warehouse facilities is taking place,’ Khokon said.
The BTMA urged the government to launch a drive in the textile producing areas to prevent sales of illegally imported yearns and fabrics and to ensure proper management of bonded warehouses.
The trade body also demanded suspension of sales of sari, lungi and three pieces at border markets till Eid-ul-Azha.
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