Govt may consider duty exemption for jute sector: Minister

Staff Correspondent

25 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi on Wednesday said that the government may consider duty exemption for the jute entrepreneurs who use local pulp in their production.

The minister made the announcement in response to a proposal of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), a business think-tank of the country, at his secretariat office in the city.

BUILD Chairperson Abul Kasem Khan placed a proposal to produce jute-based pulp from local green jute to promote the country’s jute industry.

Appraising the proposal, Golam Dastagir Gazi said the government will be working to frame necessary policies to support the industry, “but it will need feedback and support from various stakeholders.”

The minister said he believed that the innovative ideas need to receive policy support from the government for bringing about positive and transformative changes in the sector. Encouraging the jute-based pulp and paper, the minister suggested undertaking a well-designed pilot project on the basis of proposal’s effectiveness.   

BUILD Chairperson Abul Kasem Khan said production of jute-based pulp from local green jute would not only be an attractive business proposition for the sector, “but it would also enable us to make strides towards becoming a green economy and addressing climate change and environmental sustainability.”

 In that respect, he proposed for a Jute Pulp and Paper Act similar to the existing Jute Packaging Act which has worked well for popularizing jute-based packaging in the country.

Abul Kashem Khan also proposed the government should consider policy benefits for the sector by encouraging government purchase of Jute pulp-based paper in addition to other initial policy supports.

The country produces 47.41 percent of world production of jute, yet imports 500-600 tonnes of pulp annually worth more than $600 million.

 “We need to set up mills to produce high quality pulp from local green jute which can help the rural economy and meet its entire demand for export,” added BUILD Chairperson. Export of jute and jute goods during July-Feb in FY2020-21 is $765.63 million which is 27.08 percent higher compared to the same period a year earlier.

Around 135 varieties of jute products are being produced in the country whereas diversified jute products are being exported to 118 countries.