Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Sunday claimed that the government’s decision to set lower prices for rawhides of sacrificial animals this year was correct as traders were reluctant to buy the items even at the reduced prices.
The minister made the comment amid strong criticism of the decision as the commerce ministry decision helped traders buy at throwaway prices rawhides of the animals sacrificed during Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest religious festivals of Muslims, celebrated across the country on August 22.
‘Tanners have been passing through a tough time due to relocation of their factories [to Savar] and our decision to reduce rawhide prices was correct. Traders are not willing to buy rawhides even after reducing the prices,’ the commerce minister told reporters at the conference room of the commerce ministry in the capital.
Tofail said that the rawhides fared poorly this year due to stockpiles of hides
procured last year in the sector, lack of bank loans and yet-to-be-ready Tannery Estate at Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka.
Banks resumed their operations on Sunday after Eid-ul-Azha holidays and tanners now would be able to procure rawhides with the support of banks based on bank-client relationship, he said.
The commerce minister said that the government announced leather and leather products as the product of year for the financial year 2017-18 and all the ministries concerned were working to resolve the problems the sector was facing.
‘Recently, we held a joint meeting of industries ministry and commerce ministry over the problems the tannery industry is facing and we are working for quick solution to complexities related to land registration and Central Effluent Treatment Plant in the Tannery Estate at Savar,’ Tofail said.
He hoped that the problems would be solved and the Tannery Estate would be fully operational within a short time.
After getting registration of land it would be easy for the tanners to get bank loans and the cash crisis of the sector would be mitigated, the minister added.
Replying to a question, Tofail said the government has no plan to allow export of rawhides.
‘If we allow rawhide export, country’s leather sector would collapse,’ he said.
This year the government lowered the prices of salted cowhide to Tk 45-50 per square feet in Dhaka and Tk 35-40 outside Dhaka from Tk 50-55 per square feet in Dhaka and Tk 40-45 outside Dhaka respectively. The government-set prices were six-year lows.