Necessary financial assistances for traders involved in leather management will be ensured during the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha to harness the huge potential of the leather industry.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said this while presiding over the second meeting of the task force formed for the development of leather industry in the country on Monday.
The minister said the price of rawhides and salted hides would be determined considering Covid-19 situation and interest of traders involved in the leather industry, which will enable them to purchase and store enough leather.
Keeping in view Eid-ul-Azha, training is being imparted to imams of mosques, seasonal leather traders, and those involved in skinning sacrificial animals and preserving rawhide, with support from district and upazila administrations, Islamic Foundation, and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, he added.
The meeting decided to launch a campaign through various social media, including public awareness advertisement on television, a few days before Eid-ul-Azha through the Ministry of Information and Leather Business Promotion Council.
During the meeting, prime minister's private industry and investment adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman suggested contacting the finance department to ensure budget support for the tannery industry.
He said if Rajuk's "Red Zone" was withdrawn from the tannery owners' land in Hazaribagh, the owners would be able to get loans.
He feared that the rawhide situation would not improve in the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha if it was not possible to ensure loan assistance for tannery owners.
The state minister for industry proposed to use the country's Qawmi madrasas for leather preservation during Eid-ul-Azha.
He said the Qawmi madrasas have been involved in leather processing for a long time and they are being run with the income from it.
If financial support is given to the Qawmi madrasas, they will be able to play an important role in the management of leather for the upcoming Eid, he added.
He asked the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) to expedite the work of the central effluent treatment plant in the leather industrial city of Savar.
Secretary to the prime minister's office Md Tofazzal Hossain Mia emphasised proper pricing of rawhides and salted hides and development of communication between tannery owners and hides traders.
He advised the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Commerce to work in a planned way from now onwards.
Industries secretary KM Ali Azam said the district administration would be instructed to make overall preparations for leather management at the grassroots level with local people's representatives, police, upazila executive officers, seasonal leather traders, traders' representatives and others concerned ahead of the Eid.
Arijit Chowdhury, additional secretary, Financial Institutions Department, said necessary steps regarding loan assistance for tannery owners before Eid would be taken soon by holding a meeting with the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industries, FBCCI leaders, managing directors of scheduled banks, representatives of trade associations related to the leather industry.
BSCIC Chairman Mostaq Ahmed NDC said the amount of leather processing would increase in the next three months of Eid. At this time, if water beyond the international standard is used in tanneries, there will be additional pressure on CETP. Tanneries will fail to obtain the Leather Working Group certificate if excess of water is used.
He said the country has adequate salt reserves and there will be no shortage of salt anywhere at the time of Eid. The work of CTP of Dhaka Leather Industrial City in Savar is about to be completed.
He said construction of other infrastructures in the industrial city has been completed and construction work of fire service is in progress.
Md Shahed Ali, additional secretary, Public Security Department, said measures have been taken to prevent illegal import of cattle from India and smuggling of hides. Necessary instructions will be given to the police to control the law and order situation on the day and the day after Eid and to stop rumours.
Shaheen Ahmed, president of the Bangladesh Tanners Association, said tanneries in the leather industrial city of Savar currently have leather deposits worth around Tk400-500 crore.
In his concluding remarks, the industries minister said that tannery owners, warehouse keepers, owners of various types of cottages, small and medium enterprises related to the leather sector should all work together to revive the leather industry by overcoming the Covid-19 situation.