The country’s tanners on Saturday blamed lack of required cash inflow, slow demand of leather in the export market and yet-to-be-ready Tannery Industrial Park in Savar for the low prices of rawhide of sacrificial animals this Eid-ul-Azha.
In some cases, seasonal traders did not get expected prices of hides as they brought the items to the wholesalers 12 to 20 hours after the animals were slaughtered, which affected the quality of the rawhide, Bangladesh Tanners Association president Md Shaheen Ahmed said at a press conference at the office of the trade body in the capital.
He said that considering the present situation of the leather sector, the government lowered the prices of rawhide a bit this year but there was a widespread speculation that the prices of hides decreased by 40-50 per cent.
‘We have a target to collect 55 lakh hides of cows and 35 lakh hides of buffalos and goat this Eid-ul-Azha,’ Shaheen said.
But the negative propaganda over the prices of rawhide might encourage smuggling of the item to neighbouring country as Bangladesh’s cowhide was the best in quality in the region, he said.
This year the government announced the prices of salted cowhide at Tk 45 to 50 per square feet in Dhaka and Tk 35 to 40 outside Dhaka.
The prices of goat hide were set at Tk 13 to 20 a square feet.
‘The country’s leather sector is passing through a transition due to relocation of tanneries and we have been facing a severe crisis of cash as the government provided bank loans to only 42 tanneries,’ Shaheen said.
‘I will request the government and law enforcement agencies to remain vigilant so that no rawhide is smuggled out of the country,’ Shaheen said.
He blamed Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation for the dire situation of leather sector
saying that the BSCIC authorities brought tanneries in Savar on wrong information and failed to prepare the industrial belt properly despite extending time of the project thrice.
‘We made investment here with an aim to establish an environment-friendly industry but our investment turned bad as most of the tanners could not start their operation in the zone for lack of required infrastructure,’ the BTA chairman said.
‘We are not getting bank loans for our business as we are yet to get the registration of land in the industrial park and the government is going to increase the land price to meet up the cost of CETP but it would be suicidal for the industry,’ Shaheen observed.
He said that the BSCIC authorities must shoulder the responsibility of the bad situation of the leather sector and if necessary tanners would take legal action against the corporation.
Shaheen said that the production cost of tanners increased after relocation as the wages of workers, prices of chemicals and transportation cost increased while the export of leather and leather goods decreased over the time.
China, the major buyers of Bangladeshi leather, cancelled export orders due to trade war with the US, the BTA chairman claimed.
He said in some cases people might get very low prices for rawhide young people in different parts in the country collected rawhides under the banner of local clubs or various institutions.
‘But we are buying hide at the prices set by the government and in some cases we have been paying 5-10 per cent higher than the government set prices,’ he said.