The country's textile millers have recently sought the Prime Minister's (PM) intervention to stop importing yarn, fabric and other materials through misuse and misdeclaration of duty-free benefit.
The Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) in separate letters to the PM and the textile and jute minister on November 27 submitted the plea.
The local textile mills have been in dire straits for the last few years due to price hike of gas as well as illegal import of fabrics through misdeclaration and misusing bonded warehouse facility, the trade-body mentioned in the letter.
The BTMA president Mohammad Ali Khokon, however, thanked the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the law-enforcement agencies, as they started drives to stop misuse of bonded warehouse facility.
The association, in the letter, requested the textile minister to issue a demi-official (DO) letter to the finance minister, so that the drives continue to stop the local market from being flooded with illegally imported textile materials under duty-free facility.
The BTMA member mills have invested more than US$ 7.0 billion in the textile sector, it said in the letter.
"But a good number of mills might turn into sick ones due to misuse of bonded warehouse facility as well as illegal import of yarn and fabrics through misdeclaration," it read.
Terming the textile industry that supply yarn and fabrics to the export-oriented garment industry and local market 'important and sensitive', Mr Ali said it is imperative to keep the local market free from smuggled yarns and fabrics for the survival of textile industry.
"Otherwise, the textile mills might face a serious blow, and it'll hamper the economic growth of the country," he said.
Some 1,500 factories are registered with the BTMA. Of these, 450 are yarn manufacturing mills, 800 fabric, and the rest 250 are dying-printing and finishing mills.
The country imported 8.2 million bales of raw cotton in 2018, and annually spends $ 3.5 billion in importing raw cotton.
The BTMA mills meet around 85-90 per cent yarn demand for the knit factories and 35-40 per cent yarn demand for the woven RMG units. Besides, the mills are capable of catering to the full local demand for fabric and yarn for handloom, according to the trade-body.
Citing the NBR data, the BTMA officials said customs bond commissionerate conducted a total of 223 drives during January-October period this year, and seized 85 trucks and covered vans laden with fabrics and yearns brought by misusing bonded warehouse facility.
In the period, the NBR identified Tk 2.56 billion revenue dodging by misusing bond facility, and also cancelled a total of 326 bond licences, they added.