The task force formed to formulate an action plan and make development recommendations for the country's leather industry sector has proposed forming a leather industry regulatory authority under the Ministry of Industries for solving the existing problems faced by the sector and accelerating its future development.
The proposal came at the fourth meeting of the task force, chaired by Minister of Industries Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun who is also the head of the task force.
At the meeting, mentioning that the leather industry is a significant sector in the country, the minister said Bangladesh needs to find new markets for this industry abroad. He also highlighted the importance of the leather traders to make efforts to expand their business in his speech, adding that the government will extend all kinds of cooperation regarding this.
The meeting discussed in detail the current state of the tannery complex in Savar highlighting the recommendation by the parliamentary standing committee on Environment, Forests, and Climate Change to close the tannery complex given on 28 August.
The relocation process of the tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar started in 2017. But still, work on the Central Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) has not been completed, resulting in an inadequate waste management system at the complex.
Under such circumstances, some tanneries received environmental clearance but the renewal process is getting delayed. Due to the delay, tanneries are facing problems regarding obtaining Export Registration Certificate (ERC) and Import Registration Certificate (IRC). It has also been difficult to get clearance for a duty-free facility.
About this, the Minister of Industries said, "We do not want to close the tannery complex as we have the adequate raw material, manpower, and experience. So, for the interest of the tanneries, it is necessary to expedite the renewal of environmental clearances, complete the construction of CETPs, and apply modern technology to manage solid waste properly."
The Minister of Environment Md Shahab Uddin who joined the meeting virtually, said, the tannery complex in Savar can treat 25,000 cubic meters of liquid waste but the complex is producing around 35,000 to 40,000 cubic meters of liquid waste.
"This is causing river pollution and we need to go there to inspect the problem," he added.