Sunday, January 20, 2019 | ePaper

Salt industry facing setback

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Staff Reporter :
Country's salt industry is facing a tremendous set back in the recent years due to reasons like allowing to use the sodium sulphate as edible salt, importing  finished salt in the name of sodium sulphate  and dual policy on import duty by the concerned agencies, blamed the salt industry owners on Wednesday.  
The claimed that undue practices are contributing to pushing the highly potential natural salt industry to the verge of collapse.
The remarks came up in a press conference, organised by 'Bangladesh Labon Mill Malik Samity', the sole body of the country's private sector salt production, import and supply sector, at a city hotel.
The press conference titled " Market is flooded with harmful sodium sulphate: Local Industry is on the verge of collapse" was attended by President of Labon Mill Malik Samity, Nurul Kabir and other central leaders.
They demanded to impose ban on import of sodium sulphate considering its harmful effect on human body or to impose 100 percent customs duty on importing sodium sulphate, allowing the salt industry owners to import salt measuring the deficit in the market following the demand.  
Reading out a written handout in the press conference, President of the association, Nurul Kabir claimed that more than 300 salt mills have already gone closed while around 1 lakh workers, involved in the sector is under threat to go unemployed because of the dual policy and negligence of BSCIC to the salt cultivators.
"On the other hand the general consumers are being affected by various critical diseases like kidney, lever, stomach and problems in other vital organs by consuming sodium sulphate. If decision is not taken immediately then the whole nation will fall in severe health risk", Kabir added.
He said sodium sulphate can be imported with a very nominal rate of import duty because they are basically used as the chemical in different uses in the garment industry, but a vested quarter is producing edible salt by using this chemical illegally, on the other hand the customs duty of unfinished bolder salt is 87-90 percent.
"Huge quantity of sodium sulphate is being imported because there have no guideline by law, on the other hand, importing sodium chloride or edible salt is prohibited, but if there have shortage of production comparing to demand, only then salt cab be imported by the recognised salt mills owners", Nurul Kabir said.
He mentioned that as per the BSCIC's account, in the current year there have shortage of 1 lakh 28,000 MT of salt but still no decision is taken by the government to allow the salt mill owners to import salt, besides, everyday thousands of tons sodium sulphate is being brought through Chittagong port with the support of a powerful syndicate.
Speakers said despite increase in demand, the salt production is reducing in the country every year whereas the demand of salt is increasing in industries and factories of the country. Against the demand of 20 lakh ton in a year we have production of only 14 lakh ton, despite shortage this year the government did not allow mills owners to import salt.
Speakers demanded to formulate a guideline for importing sodium sulphate and also to enhance vigilance upon the use of sodium sulphate.   
Central leaders of the association were present during the press conference.

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