Shenanigans behind rawhide trade erupt into recriminations

Golam Mowla
Published : 04:00, Aug 19, 2019 | Updated : 04:00, Aug 19, 2019

The stratagem to buy rawhide at a low cost has led to a feud between two business groups. The crisis has deepened as hoarders have decided to stop the sales of hides despite a government request to tanneries to start buying from Aug 17.
Tannery owners bought a low number of rawhides from seasonal traders. On Saturday (Aug 17), president of Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants’ Association, Delwar Hossain, told the media: “Hoarders get almost Tk 4 billion from tannery owners and unless this is paid, we will not sell to tanners; this money is due since 2012.”
In reaction, leaders of Bangladesh Tanners Association said: “We were prepared to buy rawhide as per government request but if hoarders don’t sell then we have nothing to do.”
General Secretary of Bangladesh Tanners Association, Sakhawat Ullah, says; “Until three years ago, we paid the hoarders regularly and had year-round transactions but have struggled to pay in the last two years due to cash crunch.”
We have incurred huge losses while transferring material from Hazaribagh to Savar. In the four-layer rawhide buying operation, tannery owners are the big players receiving government facilities and bank loans. On the contrary, the merchants get almost no facility as they have to buy rawhide from seasonal traders with cash.
A collusive practice has come out in the open involving merchants and tanners during the last few years. Reportedly, both parties made a profit, ranging between Tk 400 and Tk 500 for each piece of rawhide.
But a complication Arose when several tannery owners stopped paying the merchants.
It’s reported that in the last few years, tannery owners reduced their payment to merchants and collected vast quantities of leather at a low price which affected the overall price of rawhide.
Over a period of last 31 years, rawhide sold at the lowest rate this year. The price was low in 2018 too and people were actively vocal on the matter on social media but the government did not take any step.
The price has fallen to such levels that many simply buried the rawhide from sacrificed animals while others left them on the streets. At the moment, the issue has morphed into an open feud between merchants and tanners marked by bitter recriminations.