The government has taken initiative to pull the plug on anarchy that has been going on for several years regarding the collection of rawhide on Eid-ul-Adha – Islam's second-largest religious festival.
On top of fixing the price, this time the commerce ministry has undertaken a comprehensive monitoring plan for: the purchase and sale of rawhide at fixed prices, their collection, storage, stocking and salt application.
The commerce ministry's central coordination committee; a monitoring committee; a control room; a special monitoring team for Dhaka and Natore; a monitoring team comprising of agencies under the ministry for divisions and districts; and monitoring teams comprising officials of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection at the district level will work during the upcoming Eid.
The Ministry of Commerce organised a workshop on Saturday with all the departments and agencies concerned.
After determining the scope of work at the workshop, it was decided that these activities be monitored for the next five days from Eid day, according to sources at the commerce ministry.
More than half of the rawhide collected throughout the year comes from Eid-ul-Adha. However, sellers have not been getting the real price of leather for several years. After buying skins, wholesalers have been unable to sell them at fixed prices.
Commerce Secretary Dr Md Zafar Uddin said it is important to maintain the quality of rawhide as it is an important national resource.
"We are making arrangements so that the real price of rawhide is available. The coordination and monitoring committees, in collaboration with the local administrations, will conduct their activities from the day of Eid-ul-Adha," he added.
The meeting sought the cooperation of all media outlets in the country to raise public awareness about the issue.
The programme was presided over by the commerce secretary. The heads of various departments and agencies under the ministry, and the export department officials, were present at the programme in its conference room.
At the meeting, the Ministry of Commerce also decided to monitor the supply chain and price situation of the salt applied to skins – as well as keep the supply chain normal.
Last year there was a massive drop in the price of skins of sacrificial animals. The rawhide price has decreased so much that it has caused a lot of frustration among many. Unable to sell the rawhide, seasonal traders and merchants buried skins in different parts of the country including Dhaka and Chittagong.
In the past years, people blamed the government for this. As a result, the government has taken the initiative to monitor the situation this time.
However, wholesalers fear that fewer sacrificial animals will be slaughtered this year due to the Covid-19 panic and financial crisis.
At the same time, due to the massive amount of arrears owed to the tannery owners, the wholesalers are fearing that the skin collection will be reduced by 50 percent this time.
The Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants Association is demanding loans from banks like tannery owners to buy rawhide.
To maintain normal rawhide collection on Eid-ul-Adha, the central bank has given special concessions to this sector so that defaulting tannery owners get loans.
They can reschedule loans with a two percent one-time deposit. To get this facility, they have to apply by July 30. Banks will be able to reschedule the loans themselves without the approval of the central bank.