A recent report by a government intelligence agency paints a grim picture of the leather industry’s decline. Besides, the traders of this sector have given information about the crisis in the leather industry.
According to a special report by a government intelligence agency on the demand, production, supply and decline of the sacrificial animal industry on Eid-ul-Adha, leather and leather products are currently the second largest export-oriented sector in the country.
About 9 lakh people are directly and indirectly involved in this sector. The government has already taken several steps for the development of the industry, including shifting the tannery from Hazaribagh to Savar, but for some reason it is still not working.
The report makes a number of recommendations to address the problem of the leather sector. These include:
- Declaring BCIC Tannery Industrial Park at Hemayetpur in Savar as an intensive economic zone to develop it as an international standard tannery industrial park without operating it under BCIC and operating it under a separate authority.
- To increase public awareness by promoting informative advertisements / TVC media on skin peeling, collection and preservation to protect the quality of skin.
- To make arrangements for leather storage at the upazila level for proper storage of leather during Eid-ul-Adha.
- Imposition of additional tariffs to limit the import of alternative products to the national leather product.
- To find alternative environmentally friendly ways to reduce the use of chemicals used in the leather industry (chromium, lead etc.) and to take initiative to produce in domestic factories without importing chemicals used in this industry.
- To impose the obligation on the factories producing export oriented leather products to procure processed leather from domestic tanneries.
- Announcing additional facilities to bring back foreign buyers and organizing trade fairs for leather and leather products.
- To create opportunities for setting up small industries suitable for by-products using solid waste of tannery in Savar like Hazaribagh.
- To provide land development opportunities to the tannery owners by freeing the lands / plots of Hazaribagh Tannery from the red zone and also to make arrangements for quick transfer of the plots of Tannery Industrial Park at Savar to the tannery owners.
- With Eid-ul-Adha in mind, to take initiative to solve the credit complications of leather traders and to provide them new loan facilities.
- To take necessary steps of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry to create new markets for leather abroad.
- To increase the intelligence surveillance about the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha skin smuggling, collection and transportation chaos or obstacles and not to create any rumors about the skin.
When contacted, Mr. Aftab Khan, president of the Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchant Association, said, “The country’s leather sector is currently in crisis. The epidemic has exacerbated the crisis.
He added: “All the information that has come out of the government intelligence report is correct. Besides, the tannery owners are not paying our dues. This is one of the reasons for the crisis in the leather sector.