Govt fixes prices of rawhide

The government yesterday fixed the price per square foot of cattle rawhide at Tk 50-55 in Dhaka while that of he-goat at Tk 40-45 for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha.

That of cattle outside Dhaka was fixed at Tk 40-45 and of she-goat at Tk 15-17.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed announced the rates for the sacrificial animals at a post-meeting media briefing at his secretariat in Dhaka.

“The prices of rawhides remained unchanged this year from those of last year. The current situation of the tanneries, leather and leather goods industries and the international market prices have been considered while fixing the rates,” Ahmed said.

The minister said no one will be able to take rawhides to Hazaribagh this year as the tannery estate inside Dhaka has been removed to Savar in April following a court verdict.

However, the government has been considering whether the Hazaribagh areas can be allowed for establishing leather goods manufacturing industries as such units do not pollute the environment and water like tanneries.

Ahmed said this year the government has also allowed the import of an adequate amount of salt to ensure its availability to rawhide merchants during the Eid festival.

This year the number of animals to be sacrificed across the country is estimated to be around 1.16 crore. Of this, 44.57 lakh are cows and buffaloes while 71 lakh goats and sheep.

Last year, 1.4 crore animals were sacrificed, according to data from the commerce ministry.

Mohammad Abdullah, secretary to the industries ministry, said as of yesterday, 67 out of 155 tanneries started full fledged operation at the Savar tannery estate.

Two more tanneries will start operation in full swing before Eid as the relevant construction is now at the final stage. “I am hopeful that more than 100 tanneries will be able to start full-fledged operations from next month,” Abdullah said at the meeting. Two central effluent treatment plants are already in operation and two more would start functioning after August 25, the secretary said.

Abdullah also said all the tanneries have been provided electricity connections while gas connections were given to some of the 105 which got relevant permission.

The industries secretary also said, by the end of June 2019, the solid waste management system would be ready at the Savar tannery estate. Five megawatts of electricity can be generated from the sludge produced at the Savar estate, he said.

Mohiuddin Ahmed Mahin, president of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association, said the tanners have already invested Tk 2,500 crore in Savar and many of them are in trouble as they did not get the gas connections yet and are being charged higher for land.

Although the government had signed an agreement with the tannery owners to provide space at Tk 327 per square foot, it is now demanding Tk 1,765 per square foot, he said.

At the meeting, the minister instructed police and members of Border Guard Bangladesh to heighten vigilance at the borders so that rawhides are not smuggled out to India.

Leather and leather goods such as footwear have turned into major export items for Bangladesh in recent years due to rising demand for fashionable goods by Western customers seeking competitive prices.

Leather and leather goods are now the second highest export earning products after readymade garment items. Only leather and leather goods, after the apparel sector, could earn more than $1 billion over the last four consecutive years. Leather and leather goods exports amounted to $1.23 billion in fiscal 2016-17, registering 6.29 percent year-on-year growth, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. The share of leather and leather products in national export was 3.54 percent last fiscal year.

Italy, the UK, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, the US and Canada are the big markets for the sector. In recent years, the exporters have been doing well in Japan, India, Nepal and Australian markets.

Bangladesh now exports only 0.5 percent of the global leather and leather goods market worth $215 billion, according to industry insiders.


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