BD’s leather industry can grab Chinese world market

There is a big opportunity ahead of Bangladesh to give the country’s leather industry a boost as many of the Chinese leather factories are expected to close down on pollution ground. Bangladesh Tanners’ Association (BTA) chairman Shaheen Ahmed told this to Bangladesh Post on Saturday. He said, “If we can attract buyers who are depended on the Chinese leather industry, our export can jump tremendously”.

It is to be noted, the China government has shut down 17,000 polluting industries following a pollution discharge inspection of 1.41 million companies from January to September during 2015. On the other, its capital Beijing will also shut around 1,000 manufacturing firms by 2020. In this very situation, most of the buyers depended on China are diverting to Vietnam for high quality leather goods.

“As the country is having a separate tannery estate at Savar, leather and leather goods (LLG’s) production will increase extensively and we can take the opportunity to leverage the compliant industry”- he added. He continued, “If the country can provide LLG’s at a competitive price by ensuring environment, social and quality compliance, the next cash cow of the country can sustain in the competitive world market in the coming days”.

BTA information showed, with the establishment of the latest technology Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CEPT) at Savar, the modern Leather Tannery Estate has brought visible progress in the leather industry. The leather estate will get more positive impacts if modern amenities are added and can be highlighted in the global market.

BTA leaders recently said, as the country will be recognized as Developed Country by 2024, at that time, the existing LDC facilities will not be available for the country. For this, the sector needs to take preparation for the coming days' challenges. The rising industry, which is considered the second export-earning sector of the country, need financial, technical, and policy support. With assurance of required support from the government, the sector can achieve its export earnings of five billion dollars by 2021, which will contribute to achieving SDG target - said BTA Chairman Md Shahin Ahmed.

BTA statistics showed, during 2013-14 the sector achieved $1 billion and enjoyed a continuous growth until 2016-17. However, due to tannery relocation from Hazaribagh to Savar the industry has witnessed serious negative growth during 2017. About the negative impact, BTA identified that for a certain period of time production was stopped due to relocation, due to compliance, less LWG standard certificate, suddenly increased domestic demand and other problems.

Citing comparison of production between Hazaribagh and Savar Leather Industry, Shahin showed, the new tannery industrial estate has a total 205 plots under 154 units over 199.40 acres of land. Once the estate will go for full production, it will be able to produce 1200 million square feet (expected). There will be four CETP modules. The product price per square foot for the crust is $ 1.10, finished $ 1.80 and for split leather $ 0.15- 0.35.

Mentionable, the government is also forming a task force comprising representatives from the Industries Ministry, the Commerce Ministry, the National Board of Revenue (NBR), Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the private sector. The taskforce will take decisions by reviewing the progress of the leather industry every week.