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This time the state-owned sugar mill may be closed

  • Financial
  • Lead News
  • 29 September, 2020 11:19:59

Photo: Collected

News Desk: The government is thinking of closing the loss-making sugar mill this time as a continuation of the jute mill. A committee has been formed in this regard. The Sugar Industry Corporation has already started the work of verification, selection and evaluation. Economists say the government can form a tax force with proper supervision and modernization without shutting down mills.

Most of the mills of the Sugar Industry Corporation were established in the 80s of the last century. Although the mills were established for the purpose of expansion of the industry and employment, in the course of time it has become the burden of the state. In the absence of proper action, only one of the 15 mills is profitable.

At present, the production of only 2 mills is above 50 per cent of its capacity and the production of 9 mills is below 30 per cent of its capacity. Losses of mills due to various reasons including increase in overall production capacity and cost, corruption every year.

For these reasons, the government has been moving with the mills. A five-member committee headed by an additional secretary of the industry ministry has been formed to settle the accounts.

In this context, the chief additional secretary of the committee. Helal Uddin said they have not started activities yet. The committee will be reconstituted. Then the activities will start.

Millions of workers and thousands of families are involved in the long-running industrial sugar mill. Economists are advised to modernize the sector without making workers jobless.

Golama Moazzem, research director at the Center for Policy Dialogue-CPD, said the mills in the sector are in the same predicament as the jute mills. There is some difference in this too.

Like Keru, where liqueur and spirits are made, the factory is regularly in profit. The government can continue such factories, if they are in a profitable stage.

Economist said. According to Mahfuz Kabir, due to lack of patronage, it has been established as an inefficient industry. A lot of workers are employed here, so his advice is, it actually needs a separate taskforce. They can see how to make it a little smarter industry.

Initially, the Sugar and Food Industries Corporation is specially planning for 6 sugar mills out of 15 initially.

It may be mentioned that the government stopped the production activities of all state-owned jute mills on June 26 due to continuous losses. The announcement was made by Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Ghazi at a virtual press conference.

So far 25 jute mills were in operation under BJMC. Of these, 22 are in full swing jute mills and 3 are non-jute industries. At present there are 24,006 permanent workers in the jute mills. Besides, the number of registered transfer and daily based workers is about 26 thousand.

As per the promise, the Bangladesh Jute Mill Corporation (BJMC) has inaugurated the payment of cash and savings certificates to the mill workers. Textile and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi also said that the workers of the remaining mills would be paid their dues soon after the necessary inspections.

Karim Jute Mills Limited in Demra, Dhaka, on the afternoon of September 15 (Tuesday) officially inaugurated the payment of all dues of the terminated workers on the basis of declaring the mill closed, including the arrears of retired workers of BJMC.

Although it is proposed to pay around Tk 4,000 crore for the permanent workers of 25 closed mills and a total of Tk 5,000 crore in 3 fiscal years, including about Tk 1,000 crore for gratuity, PF and leave cashing for 10,107 workers who have retired since 2013, the Prime Minister said. Decided to pay all the debts in one lump sum in the current financial year.

In the interest of future financial security and safety of the workers, the Prime Minister will pay 50 per cent of each debt in cash and the remaining 50 per cent in the form of profit-based savings certificates every three months.

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