Bangladesh’s plummeting leather exports worry tanners

  •  Bangladesh
  •  Apr 10, 2019
  •  By WFB Bureau
Bangladesh’s plummeting leather exports worry tanners

The leather industry in Bangladesh has been facing hardships as it has been witnessing negative growth in leather and leather products exports since last fiscal.

According to the statistics revealed by Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the leather and leather products exports fell by 11.71 per cent year-on-year to US $ 626.42 million in the first seven months (July- January) of the financial year 2018-19. Also, the overseas sales of leather and leather products and leather footwear declined by 26.87 per cent during the fiscal 2016-17.

In the previous financial year, the export earnings stood at US $ 1.08 billion. In 2016-17, the export revenue was US $ 1.23 billion. Worth mentioning here is that for the current fiscal 2018-19, the target is set at US $ 1.12 billion.

“The industry is been experiencing a painful restructuring followed by tannery relocation and thus leaves a big impact on production. On the other hand, a fierce competition from regional rivals pushed the manufacturers exporters to tight corner badly affecting the exports,” said Md Shaheen Ahmed, Chairman of Bangladesh Tanners Association.

The announcement of a mega fiscal incentive by the Indian Government for the revival of the country's leather industry has also been hard on Bangladesh leather sector.

A number of tanneries have been ordered to relocate from Hazaribagh to Savar Tannery Industrial Estate, which is the prime reason for the declining exports. “Exports of leather and leather goods continue to decline, as the manufacturers and exporters have been struggling with compliance issues as result of partial operation of the central effluent treatment plant (ETP) at the Savar Tannery Industrial Estate,” explained Saiful Islam, President of the Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh.

The lack of fully functional ETP has failed tanneries to start their production in full swing. And, the tannery waste polluting river water and environment has further tarnished Bangladesh tanneries’ image.  

“Lack of buyers confidence therefore put a negative impact on exports,” added Saiful Islam.
Saiful Islam, however, expressed the hope to overcome the plummeting export growth of leather and leather goods provided by full functioning of CETP at the industrial estate.

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