President of Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) Md. Saiful Islam, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Industries Md. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Vice Chairman of Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau Mafruha Sultana attended the closing ceremony of INSPIRED Project ASIE/2013/333-101 and 102 in the city Saturday.
Relocation of tanneries a boon to country’s leather exports
The ongoing relocation of tanneries from Dhaka’s Hazaribagh to Savar will be a boon to the country’s leather exports as it would address the longstanding compliance issues of the leather industry-speakers said at a program in the capital on Saturday.
An increase in leather export can also help Bangladesh to diversify its export basket and lessen its dependence on readymade garments-they said during the event.
The opinion came during the closing ceremony of INSPIRED Project ASIE/2013/333-101 and 102 in the capital on Saturday. Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) organized the event.
“Bangladesh’s leather exporters have made a name for themselves abroad for their qualitative products”, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Industries Md. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said during the event.
“However environmental compliance remains a thorny issue”, he said, “So much so that many overseas buyers have reduced their import orders from Bangladesh due to environmental concerns”.
Referring to the recent government drive for relocating the tanneries from Hajaribagh to Savar, the Industries Secretary said, “Through the ongoing relocation process, we can address these compliance issues which can help us to regain the momentum in leather goods export”.
Leather sector combining leather and leather products is currently the second largest exporting sector of Bangladesh after ready-made garments.
However, the environmental standard maintained by the local leather factories and tanneries have often come under national and international scrutiny which, according to industry insiders is hampering the export potential.
Addressing the concern, the government recently ordered the relocation of a total of 155 tanneries situated at Hazaribagh of the capital to the designated industrial park in Savar.
The Ministry of industries also allocated plots on the 200-acre leather estate in Savar to those 155 tannery owners.
At the same time, the Supreme Court ordered each of the 155 tannery owners in Hazaribagh to pay the government Tk 10,000 a day as fine for not relocating their factories to the tannery estate in Savar within the given time.
In this context, speakers at the event opined that this ongoing relocation would go a long way in addressing the environmental issues which would ultimately help the country remove a major barrier in expanding overseas market.