The country’s raw jute exporters on Monday demanded for not imposing ban and duty on raw jute exports to protect the interests of the sector.
The leaders of Bangladesh Jute Association (BJA) and Shippers Council of Bangladesh (SCB) made the demand at a press conference at a city hotel.
They said the international market has shrunk for Bangladeshi raw jute because of export ban that was slapped on the product several times in the past.
Bangladesh used to export raw jute of 2.8 million to 3.0 million bales yearly. Now the volume of export of this product has shrunk to 800,000 to 900,000 bales.
If export duty is imposed, the sector will completely shut down, they said.
A section has proposed to impose export duty of $250 per maund (37 kg) to the ministry of Textiles and Jute recently showing accuse of scarcity of raw jute in local market, said Sk. Syed Ali, chairman of BJA while reading a written speech.
The country needs to reduce the existing trade gap through increasing export earnings. So, such proposal is very unfortunate, he said.
Although the government has fixed the production target of raw jute at over 9.2 million bales this fiscal year, later the production target was fixed 8.4 million bales considering the effect of flood on raw jute production.
The local demand for raw jute was 5.5 million bales per year before closing the mills of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC). Of the total volume, BJMC’s mills used to produce about 1.3 million bales of raw jute.
As the BJMC’s mills remained closed, the demand for raw jute reduced in local market.
Besides, after closing the BJMC’s mills, the millers returned unused raw jute to their suppliers.
So, a significant volume of raw jute will remain unused in the country. Of the total unused raw jute, they can export only 800,000 to 900,000 bales, they said.
A notable volume of raw jute will be left after their export, they observed.
They also said a large number of manpower is engaged in this sector and if the export of raw jute is closed, then the people will be affected severely, he said.
They also demanded to include the raw jute exporters in the list of beneficiaries of incentive package, announced by the Prime Minister for Covid-19 affected sectors.
They also sought subsidy against raw jute export.
Md Rezaul Karim, chairman of SCB, among others was present at the press meet.