The government has apparently backtracked on its decision to allow rawhide export as tannery owners on Wednesday promised that they would start procuring raw hide of sacrificial animals at the government-mandated prices from August 17 (Saturday).

‘If tannery owners start procurement of rawhide at the government-mandated prices from August 17 we will not go for export and if the tanners do not keep their promise, the government would allow export of wet blue leather followed by rawhides on a case-by-case basis,’ senior secretary of commerce secretary Md Mofizul Islam told New Age on Thursday.

Earlier, the day after Eid-ul-Azha the government had announced its decision to allow rawhide export to ensure fair prices, saying that the hides of sacrificial animals were not traded at a price set by the commerce ministry.

Commerce secretary said that the government would have to protect the interest of the country.

Against the backdrop of drastic fall in prices of the hides of sacrificial animals the government announced to allow export of rawhide and then Bangladesh Tanners Association requested the government not to allow export of the item and promised to procure the same at prices set by the ministry.

The government had set the prices of cowhide at Tk 45-50 a square foot in Dhaka and Tk 35-40 a square foot for outside Dhaka while the prices of castrated-goat skin had been set at Tk 18-20 a square foot and that of goatskin at Tk 13-15 a square foot across the country.

‘Now, we have to consider the interest of the leather industry and the country’s employment. If the tanners do not keep their promise, obviously the government would allow rawhide export,’ Mofizul said.

Responding to a question regarding dumping of hides into rivers and ditches he said that it was a sheer display of irresponsibility on the part of the individuals and institutions. Those who damaged rawhides did so despite the fact that the government made them aware of the techniques of preserving them beforehand.

If they could preserve them they would have got minimum prices for them, commerce secretary said. 

The procurement of rawhides of the sacrificial animals witnessed an unprecedented price disorder this year and people who sacrificed animals dumped a sizeable number of rawhides faced with the crisis as business syndicate denied paying them the minimum price.

Seasonal and small-scale traders threw away more than one lakh pieces of cowhides on the roads of Chattogram city as wholesale traders refused to buy the items even at Tk 50-10 per piece.

Authorities of a madrassah at Syedpur village in Jagannathpur upazila under Sunamganj district buried 900 hides (800 cowhides and 100 goatskins) of sacrificial animals as there were no buyers.

Small traders at Cumilla dumped more than 200 pieces hides into the River Gomoti after failing to get minimum prices.

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