The Financial Express

Tanners agree to pay dues in three phases

Both parties to sit tomorrow, Aug 31

FE Report | Published: August 23, 2019 10:06:11 | Updated: August 23, 2019 18:28:01

A worker carrying a headload of salted rawhide for a wholesaler at Posta in Dhaka city on August 15, 2019 — FE photo by Shafiqul Alam A worker carrying a headload of salted rawhide for a wholesaler at Posta in Dhaka city on August 15, 2019 — FE photo by Shafiqul Alam

The country's tanners have agreed to pay the arrears to rawhide merchants in three installments.

Tanners owe money to rawhide merchants dating back to 1990, but insiders say the bulk of the amount falls from 2015 through 2019. The two other periods are 1990-2010 and 2010-2015.

The decision came on Thursday at an arbitration meeting mediated by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

"Before that, the tanners and rawhide merchants will sit together to make a list of merchants," FBCCI president Sheikh Fazle Fahim told reporter after the meeting at the apex chamber in the city.

The Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA), Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA), Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants' Association (BHSMA) and representatives from the industries and commerce ministries were present at the meeting, convened to resolve the crisis over the rawhide of sacrificial animals after the Eid-ul-Azha

The FBCCI president said the participants in the meeting agreed to the decision and the repayment of dues is a continuous process.

He said merchants and tanners will sit tomorrow (Saturday) and both sides will meet again on August 31 in presence of the chamber leaders.

Mr Fahim said they have already got the lists of traders from eight districts; other lists of traders will come gradually.

He said the industries and commerce ministries are formulating a leather policy, which will be placed in the next cabinet meeting.

He said the policy will also outline the procurement policy.

The FBCCI president said tanners have their own problems as they relocated factories from Hazaribagh to Savar.

They cannot use their plots at Hazaribagh as collateral or other means.

He sought the intervention of the industries ministry on the matter.

However, he said the news of throwing away or burying rawhides and skins of sacrificial animals are not true in all cases.

"It didn't happen across the country, only in some districts and everybody in meeting agreed on that," he said.

"We have to think about it so that such things can't recur," he said.

Replying to a question, Mr Fahim said the meeting is not for the repayment.

"The meeting has been organised against the backdrop of the situation erupted over the recent 'shock' in the industry," he said.

Asked whether the merchants were satisfied with the meeting decision, president of the Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants' Association (BHSMA) Delwar Hossain said they will wait until August 31 to respond to this question.

He also blamed tanners for the recent crisis as tanners assured traders of paying dues before Eid, but they didn't.

Replying to question, BTA president Shahin Ahmed said this year they could reschedule loans taken out as 'Eid purchase' credit.

The banks have been providing Eid purchase loans of Tk 6.05 billion to tanners for many years.

Every year the banks reschedule whatever amount is repaid in a year, the BTA president said.

This year, the banks provided only Tk 1.5 billion loans as many tanners could not repay, he said.

He said they want to pay dues, traders and tanners are complementary to each other.

He demanded fresh bank loans for the factories, which ran into financial trouble for purchasing new rawhides.

He also thanked the FBCCI for mediating to resolve the crisis.


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