People making rawhide chaos must be held to account

Published: 00:00, Aug 16,2019


EID-UL-AZHA witnessed an unprecedented price disorder in the procurement of rawhide of sacrificial animals allegedly because of an unholy nexus of leather sector businesses. The drastic fall in rawhide prices prompted the government to announce a decision to allow export but that too failed to prevent rawhide from getting wasted as people who sacrificed animals and seasonal traders have no facility to preserve rawhide for export. The unprecedented low price people suffer while many even decided to bury the rawhide after they had failed to get minimum prices. Disappointed about the price disorder, seasonal and small-scale traders set fire to rawhides and threw them away onto the street in protest at the low prices that traders offered. The prices of rawhides plummeted because of cash crisis of traders as their payment for the past year’s hides of Tk 300 crore remained due with several tanneries, as the Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants Association said.

Since 2013, the government has favoured a drastic lowering of prices of rawhide of sacrificial animals to advantage wholesalers in the leather sector and tanners depriving the people who supply the rawhide. The commerce minister before Eid announced that prices of cowhide would be Tk 45-50 a square feet in Dhaka and Tk 35-40 a square feet outside Dhaka, retaining the prices the same as in the past year after a meeting with leaders of the Bangladesh Tanners’ Association and the Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants’ Association. Despite a 5.8 per cent annual inflation and an increase in prices of goods, the government set such low prices of rawhide considering proposals of tanners. The leather sector businessmen demanded that prices of rawhide of sacrificial animals should be lowered by 40 per cent from the past year’s on the excuse of ‘slow demand’ on the world market. However, because of their ill-motive and the prices set by the government, seasonal traders were set to incur huge losses again despite collecting rawhides for low prices. Notably, wholesalers, in their turn, do not maintain the prices set by the government. A section of wholesalers have colluded with the tannery owners for long to form a syndicate to exploit the seasonal traders and, consequently, seasonal traders become losers in rawhide business because of their capital shortage.

In view of the current state of rawhide business, the government must hold to account the people, especially in the leather sector, that have been responsible for such a chaos on the rawhide market. The government must also set prices of rawhide at Eid time taking into consideration goods price increase and bring about a change in its policy so that seasonal traders and people who sell the rawhide are not deprived.

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