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21 March, 2019 00:00 00 AM

Estimation of demand for crude salt in Bangladesh

Refined salt obtained through traditional methods is used for fish processing, making livestock feed and preserving hide and skin
Abdul Quaiyum
Estimation of demand for crude 
salt in Bangladesh

Crude salt is produced in Bangladesh from November to May in every year. Demand for crude salt comes from different sources.  Shortfall of produced crude salt increases the price of refined salt to be used in different purposes. Hence, estimation of demand for crude salt is necessary, which will be helpful for setting the target of producing crude salt. According to the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industry Corporation (BSCIC) target for producing crude salt is fixed at eighteen lakh metric tons this year. In order to assist the salt producer restriction on import of crude/boulder salt is made in every Import Policy Order (IPO). Salt can be divided into two, such as, crude and refined salt. Crude salt is used as raw material for producing edible salt and others as well. Activities of producing crude salt began in 1961 in planned way by government initiative. After the liberation of Bangladesh, the government took some steps to solve the problem of producing crude salt through the establishment of salt project under Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries (BSCIC) and is made exemption of salt from paying excise duty.

In spite of these measures, the price went up to an abnormal height in 1974 due to an abnormal fall in production as a result of natural calamity felling the country into serious salt crisis. Since then the government has allowed the import of salt to meet the shortfall of local production. In accordance with the classification of utilizing salt, it can be divided into five categories such as edible salt, processing fish, live-stock, preservation of raw hides and skin and associated industrial raw material. Textile, dyeing and pharmaceutical industries import refined salt for using as raw material along with others though it is very negligible. Boulder salt are imported by chemical goods producer due to locally produced salt is not suitable for their production.  Other than these producers, nobody can import the boulder salt.

It is shown in Salt Policy 2016 that population would be increased to 16,69,96,477 (16.69 Crore) in 2018-19 and determine the quantity of using salt per person is 14.5 gram per day. Based on this information quantity of demand for edible salt is estimated at 8.84 lakh MT in year 2018-19.

This information and quantity of crude salt production, import of boulder salt and refined salt for the last six years, estimate of locally produced crude salt demand can be made at 17.88 metric ton and if quality of this crude salt can be improved then demand might be increased to 19.55 metric ton. It may be noted here that crude salt is imported by refineries, chemical goods producer and industrial users under HS Code 2501.00.10 and 2501.00.20 at the rate of total tax on import 89.42%, 81.64% and 31.50% respectively. In accordance with Import Policy Order (IPO), import of refined or boulder or others will not be allowed. But chemical goods producer can import boulder and pharmaceutical & textile industries can import refined sugar under IPO.

Refined salt obtained through traditional methods seems to be used in fish processing, feedings of livestock and preservation of hides and skin. Besides, refined salt obtained through other two methods such as Vaccum Evaporation and Mechanical Wash are edible salt.

Salt is both an agricultural as well as manufacturing activity. Production of crude salt from sea water is a cultural practice involving mainly such factors of production as land and labour while the refinement and crushing is a manufacturing activity involving men, machine and money. Hence in the salt producing regions of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar, it is a major source of employment at least for five (5) months of the year. In spite of being seasonal goods, salt production has created the opportunity of employment generation for the producer associated with production of salt. People are going to engage themselves to the production of salt gradually and the number of salt producer has been increased. As per salt policy 2016, about 5 lakh persons are engaged in salt production, refining, preservation, storing and marketing, etc. directly or indirectly and thereby dependent population is about 25 lakh on salt industry.  Therefore, it is clear that production of salt generates employment opportunity and it is needed to increase the production of crude salt. It is known that cost for producing crude salt in neighbouring country is less than that of Bangladesh. The sole raw material for producing crude salt is brine.

In comparison with the neighbouring country salinity in our sea water is less in nature. Parts Par Thousand (PPT) is used for the measurement of salinity in sea water. 20 parts are exists in per 1000 liter of sea water in Bangladesh as against 50 Parts in neighbouring country. In order to reduce the cost of production per acre, efforts can be made to increase PPT in sea water. This would reduce the cost on the one hand and increase the production of crude salt on the other. Increase in production of crude salt tends to increase the possibility of export.

Estimation of demand above indicates that BSCIC has targeted properly the quantity of producing crude salt this year. Not only on using crude salt on sectors mentioned above, BSCIC can also emphasize to utilize produced crude salt in industry as well for producing chemical goods. These require improving the quality of crude salt and increasing PPT in sea water to increase per acre production of crude salt.

Target to produce crude salt can be made on the basis of the estimated demand for crude salt in every year.  In order to utilize the locally produced crude salt in producing chemical goods effort can be made by BSCIC to improve the quality of crude salt. In that respect possibility of demand for crude salt might have increased to 19.57 metric ton.

 The writer is former Member, Bangladesh Tariff Commission



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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.

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