3 years ago

Govt to modernise state-owned jute mills: PM

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The government aims to revamp the state-owned jute mills facing shutdown by using modern technology and engage those with experience in the upgraded plants, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said, reports

These workforce will be trained on how to use the new technology more effectively, Hasina said during her concluding speech of the budget session in parliament on Thursday.

A total of 26 jute mills under the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation have been incurring losses for decades, turning profits in just four of the last 44 years.

The move to shut down the mills will also send about 25,000 workers at 26 jute mills into early retirement once their pay is settled under a scheme, euphemistically called a golden handshake.

The government has allocated Tk 580 million to pay their wages for the month of June and plans to revitalise the flagging jute sector through public-private partnerships.

“Jute is an alternative to the synthetic materials (the use of) which are on the decline as people want to preserve the environment. This is a huge opportunity for us… but our industries need to be modernised, revamped. For that we have to settle all the payments of the jute labourers… (with) almost Tk 5 billion…” Hasina said.

Pointing out that handing the worker too much money at a time could lead to problems with their money management, she touched upon how the payments would be made.

“We’ve told them that half of the payment will be made in savings certificates from which they will receive 11 percent of the payment. They will receive a hefty amount in interest every three months, the (monthly) sum will be more than what they used to earn as daily wages per month,” she added.

“We’ve done the calculations; the arrears will all be paid off.”

Haisna also said the loval jute industry needs to remain competitive in the global jute market.

“These factories are the oldest, from the 50s and 60s… We plan to upgrade them because the future of the jute sector is bright. It is our financial crop – an agricultural as well as industrial good at the same time,” the prime minister added.

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