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Dhaka Tribune

Prioritizing leather and jute as export goods

Bangladesh can emerge as a global hub for quality leather and jute products

Update : 16 Jan 2024, 01:32 PM

It is good news to learn that the government is taking initiatives to provide export incentives to some of its most historically significant sectors. As per reports, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself has called for extending incentives to the leather and jute industries, similar to the benefits provided to the readymade garments sector.

Indeed, it is high time for Bangladesh to leverage these fledgling resources, which should not only help us diversify our export basket and bolster our overall exports, thereby fostering economic growth, but simultaneously, revive two crucial industries that have historically been vital to our economy.

Bangladesh boasts a rich heritage when it comes to jute and leather craftsmanship. The global demand for both leather and jute products continues to rise, presenting a golden opportunity for Bangladesh to position itself as a key player in the international market. 

However, realizing this potential requires a concerted effort and strategic initiatives.

The first step is recognition and acknowledgement. Exports from the leather and jute industries have reached a ceiling at around $1 billion for several years. In response to the declines in these sectors' exports, the prime minister has called for various benefits, including a corporate tax discount, a bond facility akin to the RMG sector, loans from the export development fund (EDF), and cash incentives.

However, while the foresight is welcome and at this stage necessary, these will be for naught if they are not utilized properly. It is imperative for the right people to be present at the helm of both these industries, and use this momentum and the availability of incentives to finally turn these sectors around into the export powerhouses they have always had the potential of being.

Bangladesh can emerge as a global hub for quality leather and jute products, contributing significantly to the nation's economic prosperity. This is a new chapter in our pursuit for export diversification, and we hope the relevant authorities do not mess this up.

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