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Postpone loan interest, increase cash subsidy

Jute-millers demand monetary swaps for suspending mandatory jute-bag use for rice

September 24, 2017 00:00:00

FE Report

Private jute-millers demanded a three-month moratorium on bank-loan-interest payment and higher cash subsidy for the industry as swaps for postponing jute-packaging of rice.

The mill owners made the plea as they said it would help them recoup the losses they incur following recent government order relaxing mandatory use of jute bags for three months for the rice importers to cool overheated market of the staple.

A press release said the leaders of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) expressed concern over such government decision as they dubbed it a "violation" of the Mandatory Jute Packaging Act.

"Local jute industry will face major setback because of allowing plastic bags in importing rice," the release quoted the association as saying.

The millers said they are already facing a hard time due to the imposition of anti-dumping duty by India. The demand for traditional jute bags also declined worldwide. "So the overall condition of jute sector is not good."

They, however, said the local use of jute bags increased because of enforcement of the law by the jute ministry. Different types of industries, including handlooms and power looms, have invested in this sector considering it profitable.

If plastic bags come again in the market, the jute-good producers and cultivators will lose their interest in this sector, they observed

The government last week decided to relax the mandatory jute- packaging act for the rice importers to help keep stable the prices of the food-grain to the consumers.

The prices of rice can be reduced at least by Tk 2.0 per kg if plastic bags are allowed as packaging materials in marketing and importing rice, rice traders said when they came under fire for rice-price spiral.

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