Marginal salt farmers will be provided with low-interest loans through the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), said Industries Secretary KM Ali Azam.
He said the BSCIC would initially undertake a loan programme of Tk5 crore with its own funds to disburse loans to marginal salt farmers in Cox's Bazar and Chattogram districts. The amount of this fund will be increased in phases, he added.
KM Ali Azam was addressing an opinion exchange meeting with stakeholders in the salt industry in Cox's Bazar on Thursday (7 January), said a press release from the BSCIC on Friday.
The BSCIC has started the loan programme on 7 January by distributing Tk10 lakh among marginal salt farmers. Mohammad Hafizur Rahman, deputy general manager of BSCIC Salt Industry Development Office, inaugurated the loan programme by distributing loan checks among salt farmers.
The Industries Secretary KM Ali Azam said the Ministry of Industries will officially take up the plan to build a complete buffer warehouse with a capacity of 1 lakh metric tonnes of salt. At the same time, the Ministry of Industry will work to reduce the production cost of salt.
Stating that steps will be taken soon to revive the country's salt industry, the industries secretary said, "Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is tolerant towards salt farmers. She inquires about salt farmers. The government is working to save the salt industry and farmers."
At the meeting held at the Shaheed ATM Zafar Alam Conference Room of the Cox' Bazar deputy commissioner's office, the industries secretary said, "We want to provide policy support for the salt industry. We will sit in a meeting this month. We will take everyone's opinion. The country's salt sector will be taken in a strong position."
Member of Parliament (MP) from Cox's Bazar Sadar Alhaj Saimum Sarwar Kamal, MP from Maheshkhali-Kutubdia Ashek Ullah Rafiq, BSCIC Chairman (Additional Secretary) Md Mushtaq Hasan, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Md Amin Al Parvez, District Awami League Acting President Advocate Faridul Islam Chowdhury, Cox's Bazar Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Abu Morshed Chowdhury, spoke at the meeting presided over by Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Mamunur Rashid.