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10 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Relocated tanneries must get their act together

Relocated tanneries must get their act together

The removal of tanneries from Hazaribagh in the heart of the city to Savar was done primarily to make the city cleaner and create a separate leather industry park outside Dhaka. However, with many of the factories without the mandatory effluent treatment facility, the export in the 2017-2018 fiscal year has seen a fall.

According to Export Promotion Bureau, EPB, the earning from the sector has been $1.08 billion compared to $ 1.23 billion the previous year. The fall isn’t worrisome, though efforts need to be taken now to ensure that earnings become higher.

The relocation of tanneries was essential. However, the fact that, of the relocated 155 from a total of 222, many are not compliant triggers genuine concern.

Specialists and industry insiders have stated unanimously that this is discouraging many foreign investors. Also in Savar, the Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) is not operational as yet. Leather factory owners have also deplored the rise in import duty on chemicals needed to protect raw hide as a deterrent.

The predicament is compounded by the finding that many of the eighty thousand workers in Hazaribagh either lost their jobs or decided to move to some other sector for livelihood. Obviously, this has created a shortage of expert workers. Taking all these into consideration, the first priority is to set up the CETP facility and make the factories compliant. Secondly, Bangladesh needs to capitalise on the trade war and take over the lacuna created in the US leather market due to excess tariff imposed by USA on Chinese products.

To avail this opportunity, the government has to immediately organize an exposition to showcase products to potential US buyers. Understandably, unless pre-conditions of environmental safety are met, holding an international show will be misguided. It’s not clear if Savar offers accommodation to workers. If not, then quarters need to be built so labourers can stay in the area.

Realistically speaking, the fall in export is not apocalyptic but since there is a chance to expand, Bangladesh should take it by adhering to the regulations. Once the infrastructure is present, wooing investors from strong African states will be possible. Better to keep in mind, once a negative concept is ingrained in investors’ minds, changing it will be difficult.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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