Dhaka, 22 October 2023:  Hon’ble Minister of the Ministry of Industries Mr. Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun MP has said that a countrywide network should be established for the collection and preservation of raw hides for the improvement of the local leather industry.

The Minister said this while speaking as the chief guest of a workshop titled ‘Potentials and Challenges of Leather Sector in Bangladesh: Points to Ponder’. Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP) of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) organized the workshop.

The Minister also called for necessary enhancement of skill base for the improvement of the leather industry.

Member of the Planning Commission Mr. Abdul Baki and President of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Mr. Md. Saiful Islam were present as special guests. ERD Secretary Ms. Sharifa Khan chaired the event.

Leather is considered as one of the most important and promising sectors for Bangladesh’s trade and economy. It was the highest export earning sector of the country after readymade garments during the last fiscal year. Considering the huge potential of this industry– the government has identified it as one of the top priority sectors.

Currently, leather and leather products exported from Bangladesh enjoy Duty Free Quota Free (DFQF) market access in various countries. The sector is also benefiting from various government supports, including cash incentives. However, after the country’s graduation in 2026, most of the international support measures including DFQF market access would be terminated while the government supports provided to the sector might be restricted.

In this context, the workshop was organized to identify the potentials and challenges of this sector and to discuss the strategies and way forwards to utilize the full potentials of the leather sector.

ERD Secretary Ms. Sharifa Khan, in her speech, called for necessary policy formulation for preparing the leather sector for the post-LDC graduation scenario.

Member of the Planning Commission Mr. Abdul Baki, in his speech, put emphasis on improving the ease of doing business in the country.

MCCI President Mr. Md. Saiful Islam, in his remarks, called for establishing an effective linkage between the local RMG industry and the leather goods and footwear sector.

Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Industries Mr. Md. Shamimul Haque, Director of the Institute of Leather Engineering & Technology of the University of Dhaka Dr. Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leathergoods and Footwear Exporters’ Association (BFLLFEA) Mr. Md. Jainal Abedin, and General Secretary of Bangladesh Tanners Association Mr. Md. Shakawat Ullah spoke during the event as panelists.

Panelists and discussants of the workshop put emphasis on properly operationalizing the CETP of the tannery estate, strengthening the backward linkage industries and proper preservation of raw hides from the grassroot level.

Leather sector expert Mr. Rabiul Islam Rabi, in his keynote presentation, opined that effective operationalization of Leather Development Authority under the Prime Minister’s Office would give a big boost to expedite reform measures.

He also observed that at least 15 to 20 leather factories of the country need to be prepared for Leather Working Group (LWG) certification within the next 5 years.

Welcoming the participants to the seminar, Additional Secretary of ERD and Project Director of SSGP Mr. Farid Aziz said that it is high time to fully operationalize the CETP of the tannery estate and attaining the LWG certification.

Senior officials from government ministries, agencies and research institutions, representatives from relevant trade associations and think tanks attended the workshop.