Govt moves to bring back glory of jute

Drafts policy for jute sector dev fund

Sohel Hossain Patwary

10 July, 2018 12:00 AM printer

The government has made a draft policy to establish the much-talked-about Tk 10,000-crore Jute Sector Development Fund (JSDF) with a view to bringing back the glory of the moribund sector.

A six-member committee, headed by Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation chairman Mahmudul Hassan, has developed the policy which will be sent to the Finance Ministry for the next course of action.

According to the draft policy, the duration of the revolving fund will be 20 years and entire management will remain under the central bank.

Jute farmers, traders, entrepreneurs, jute and jute product exporters are entitled to the get the loan from the fund at only 2.0 percent interest rate.

The government will supply the money for the fund through budgetary allocation at one go or by phases, the draft policy mentioned.

For the sustainable and fruitful use of fund, the policy has incorporated a set of policies on how and who are eligible to get the loan from JSDF.

Excluding the field-level jute farmers, jute and jute products traders, entrepreneurs and exporters are needed to have license as per the Jute Law, 2017.

Besides, the loan will be given to the jute sector people by analysing case-to-case application under the central bank’s loan facilities rules and regulations, the draft report states.

The Textiles and Jute Ministry sent a proposal to the Finance Ministry and Bangladesh Bank to form a special fund for jute sector like Export Development Fund (EDF) last year, aiming to restore the past glory of jute industry in the country.

Following the proposal, the textiles and jute ministry formed a six-member committee at the suggestion of the finance ministry to formulate a complete draft policy for the Tk 10,000 crore special fund.

Usually readymade garments exporters, knitwear, textiles, plastic, leather and ceramic exporters get special facilities from EDF and Green Transformation Fund (GTF).

But there is no such facility for the ailing jute and jute products exporters and entrepreneurs, JSDF committee sources said.

Towards the direction, the committee has conducted four special meetings to complete the JSDF draft policy.

Shahed Sobur, director of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) also member of the committee, said to the daily sun that they have sent the draft of the policy for the JSDF and the finance ministry will take the next course to make it happen.

He also said jute-sector exporters should get more low-rate loans as jute-goods exporters are using local source for raw materials.

India, China, Nepal, Germany, Korea, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, Ivory Coast, the USA, the UK, Iraq and Iran are the prime destination for Bangladeshi jute and jute products.

Bangladesh fetched $1.02 billion by exporting raw jute and jute goods in the just concluded fiscal year 2017-18, while the sector earned $962 million in 2016-17 and $920 million 2015-16 fiscal.