The government has reduced the prices of rawhides of sacrificial animals ahead of Eid-ul-Adha.
This year, the price of salted rawhide of cattle has been fixed at Tk35-40 per square foot in Dhaka while that outside Dhaka will be Tk28-32 per square foot.
Besides, the price of goat hide has been set at Tk13-15 per square foot while it is Tk10-12 per square foot of female goat hide across the country.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi declared the prices at a virtual meeting on Sunday.
As a reason for lowering prices, the minister said exports of leather and leather products declined last year. This year, the Covid-19 situation has led to stagnation in trade and commerce around the world. Prices have been determined by considering the current stock of rawhides as well as the demand for leather products in the international market.
Last year, the price of cow hide in Dhaka was fixed at Tk45-50 per square foot and Tk35-40 outside the capital. At that time, the Ministry of Commerce set the price of goat hide at Tk18-20 per square foot and female goat hide at Tk13-15.
In June, the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission reviewed the international market situation and submitted a report to the commerce ministry.
It said the price of salted wet blue in the international market was $0.05-1.50 per square foot, which is Tk43-129 in Bangladeshi currency. This time, unsalted rawhides of cows have been priced at Tk30-40 per square foot and that of goat at Tk15-25 per square foot. The prices set by the Ministry of Commerce are even less than this.
Last year, small traders and hawkers dumped rawhides on the streets and at garbage dumps in different parts of the country as warehouse keepers and tannery owners did not buy hides at the prices fixed by the government.
The warehouse keepers complained that the tannery owners did not pay their long arrears, which created a financial crisis and they could not buy rawhides. Meanwhile, the tanners alleged they did not get bank loans on time.
Expressing hope that such a situation will not recur, the commerce minister said the price has been fixed keeping in view of the profit of both the buyers and the sellers. The price has been fixed so that suppliers get the due price. Tannery owners have also announced to buy hides at the fixed prices.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said that there will be an opportunity to export rawhides if necessary.
He also said that the issue has been discussed with the prime minister and a committee has also been formed.
Commerce Secretary Md Zafar Uddin said a "comprehensive monitoring plan" has been adopted to keep an eye on sale, purchase, collection, storage and application of salt on rawhides at divisional and district levels.
According to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, over 10 million animals were sacrificed across the country last year. This year, the number of sacrificial animals is 11.9 million, but due to the epidemic, a lower number of animals might actually be sacrificed.
At the meeting, Information Secretary Kamrun Nahar, Chairman of Bangladesh Tanners Association Shahin Ahmed, President of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association Mohiuddin Ahmed, President of Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association Md Saiful Islam, and Bangladesh Hide and Merchant Association President Aftab Khan were also present.