The government’s decision to export rawhides will put the local tannery industries on the brink of destruction, alleged Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA).
The tannery owners association also said this will put the over Tk 70 billion industry in risk of extinction. The state-of-the-art Savar tannery city will be shut down for shortage of raw materials.
BTA leaders said this at a news conference at its Dhanmondi office in Dhaka in the morning.
The BTA members also asked the commerce ministry to revoke the decision to export rawhides since many people dependent on the business will lose their jobs and there could be movement of tannery workers.
BTA president Shahin Ahmed read out a written statement at the press conference.
The commerce ministry on Tuesday night decided to allow export of rawhide to ensure fair price as the hide of sacrificial animals were not being sold at the prices fixed by the ministry.
Before Eid-ul-Azha, the government fixed salted cowhide and buffalo rawhide at Tk 45-50 per square feet in Dhaka and at Tk 35-40 for outside the capital.
On the other hand, price of salted skin of castrated goats was fixed at Tk 18-20 per square feet while the price of salted skin un-castrated goat was fixed at Tk 13-15.
But many of the seasonal traders could not sell the rawhides at all, let alone the price fixed by the government. They left the unsold rawhides on roads.
Situation was so terrible that aggrieved people inhumed around 900 rawhides in Syedpur village of Jagannathpur, Sunamganj on Tuesday afternoon due to the price slump.
A handout, issued by the commerce ministry on Tuesday night, also sought cooperation of the traders to ensure the buy and sell of the rawhides at fair prices, fixed by the ministry.
According to information, getting from different sources, the rawhides are not being sold and bought at fixed prices, it said.
Tannery association president Shahin Ahmed told the conference that the rawhide price will become stable from 20 August as the tannery owners will begin collecting those at that time.
He also hoped the government would revoke the decision to export rawhides by that time.
The BTA president also said no BTA member is involved with the slump of rawhide price.
“We never buy rawhides. Tannery owners get the hides from other businessmen. That is why, BTA is in no way connected to the slump of rawhide price,” he told newsmen in response to a question.
He also alleged that a syndicate of rawhide wholesalers are involved with the slump of the price and they will reap the benefit from it.
The wholesalers, however, shift the blame to the tannery owners. They said they could not buy rawhides this year as the tannery owners did not pay the price of hides they sold last year. This has led to the slump.
BTA general secretary Sakhawat Ullah, treasurer Miaznur Rahman, senior vice-chairman Iliasur Rahman and adviser Shamsul Islam were also present at the conference.