POST TIME: 18 August, 2019 12:57:12 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 August, 2019 06:08:23 PM
Row over rawhides still unresolved

Row over rawhides still unresolved

Purchasing of salted rawhides from hide and skin merchants is yet to begin in full earnest, though it was earlier decided that the tanners will begin buying hides yesterday (Saturday).

Leaders of hide and skin merchants have said that they will not sell salted rawhides to tanners, until their outstanding dues of Tk. 400 crore, lying with many tannery owners, are paid.

The industries secretary yesterday held a meeting with different stakeholders of rawhides and told them that the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) at the Savar tannery village is fully operational.

The country’s rawhide business is in an alarming situation due to the free-fall in rawhide prices during Eid-ul-Azha.

The hide traders and tanners are blaming each other for the worst rawhide season the sector has seen in a decade.

Thousands of rawhides and skin were dumped, while a large quantity of valuable rawhides got rotten across the country.

Against this backdrop, the commerce ministry will hold a meeting with different stakeholders of rawhides and skins today (Sunday) to resolve the crisis.

Leaders of the Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants' Association (BHSMA) said yesterday that they would not sell salted rawhides to tanners until their outstanding dues of Tk. 400 crore are paid.

“Tanners owe us about Tk. 400 crore. The hide and skin traders have decided they won’t sell salted rawhides to any tanners until the outstanding bills are paid. Although it was decided that the hides will be sold from today, we will not do so until the financial issue is resolved,” Delwar Hossain, president of the BHSMA, told reporters at a press briefing at the association's Posta office in Old Dhaka.

He said the final decision would be taken after a meeting with the commerce ministry that is scheduled to be held on Sunday.

Hossain alleged that the tannery owners were responsible for the abnormal fall in rawhide prices.

“The merchants have failed to collect rawhides from seasonal traders due to funds constraint. The tannery owners every year talk to hide and skin merchants before the Eid day. But this year they didn’t do so. Had they

assured us about buying salted rawhides at a reasonable price, the situation wouldn’t have been created on the Eid day. The tanners are responsible for creating the damaging situation,” the BHSMA president said.

“We have a trade volume of Tk. 1,400 crore with hides and skin merchants every year. Normally, the tanners make advance payment to hide and skin merchants to purchase rawhides during Eid. But the tanners didn’t make any such payment this year due to funds constraint,” Md Shakawat Ullah, general secretary of the Bangladesh Tanners’ Association (BTA), told The Independent yesterday. He said even the hide and skin merchants didn’t inform the BTA regarding their outstanding dues before Eid-ul-Azha. When asked about buying of salted hides, he replied: “Purchasing of salted hides is yet to begin fully in the city. The buying will continue for the next two months. I heard that salted hides are being sold at Shambhuganj in Mymensingh today (Saturday).”

He further said that the hide and skin merchants are trying to realise a demand to export rawhides, and denying selling of salted rawhides to tanners in the name of outstanding bills.

Industries secretary Abdul Halim yesterday held a meeting with stakeholders of rawhides and tanners.

“Some rawhides have been damaged due to lack of proper preservation by the seasonal traders in some places, but this is not a total scenario of the country. The ministry has already directed divisional and district administrations to look into the matter seriously,” the industries secretary said.

The industries secretary urged the stakeholders to work maintaining coordination to achieve the certificate of the leather working group, as Bangladesh has already achieved 200 points in terms of waste management and effluent treatment. Before Eid, the commerce ministry had fixed the prices of salt-applied raw hide of cows and buffaloes at Tk. 45-50 per square foot in the capital and Tk. 35-40 elsewhere.

The price of rawhide of castrated goats was fixed at Tk. 18-20 per square foot. For goats not castrated, the price was set at Tk. 13-15.

Madrasas, the recipients of rawhide donation during Eid-ul-Azha, failed to sell a large quantity of rawhides due to lack of demand.

Hide merchants collect rawhides from all over the country and preserve the hides until selling these to tanners. The tanners purchase salted rawhide from merchants for further processing.

This year, the merchants said they did not get dues from tanners that led them to collect less rawhide, causing a fall in prices and demand.