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Existing tax rate on handloom products should be reduced

Speakers at Heritage Handloom Festival-2018 demanded tax cut for handloom products and they urged to allow weavers to import raw materials directly from the manufacturer.

Staff Correspondent

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Foundation and Association of Fashion Designers of Bangladesh (AFDB) jointly organized the Heritage Handloom Festival-2018 for the first time in the country. The festival was held from 4 October to 6 October at Khazana Gardenia in Gulshan-2.

Heritage Handloom Festival-2018
Figure 1: Different types of weavers showcased their products at Heritage Handloom Festival-2018.

Around 40 organizations participated with 35 stalls in the festival showcasing seven types of handloom products Jamdani, Nakshikantha, Mirpur Benarasi, Tangail weaving, Sirajganj weaving, Manipuri weaving and Rangamati weaving.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith inaugurated the function as Chief Guest and said, “We must put in our effort to keep the handloom industry alive as a cultural heritage in acknowledging our roots.”

We must put in our effort to keep the handloom industry alive as a cultural heritage in acknowledging our roots.

Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Finance Minister

Finance Minister also said, “The handloom sector couldn’t gain expected level though several initiatives were taken by the government as well as private sector for the advancement of handicraft. Apart from that existing tax rates on handloom products should reduce, special concentration should also be given on other raw materials used in the sector like color, silk yarn etc.”

Speakers recommended to avoid the middleman and have a direct connection among buyers and customers.

Renuka Chakma, Owner of Memory Boutiques said, “This fair represents our tradition to foreigners. If we can meet our customer directly through the fair, we can make more profit.”

Diversification is needed to attract more local customers besides exploration of new overseas markets for the handmade items and increasing export.

Handloom artists use their indigenous skill, techniques, imaginations and hard work to weave khadi, jamdani, Benarasi, and other fabrics. But they are not appreciated and don’t get proper sales on the product.

Minister of Culture Affairs Asaduzzaman Noor, who was present at the inauguration ceremony as the special guest said, “There is no country like Bangladesh where handmade products are sold at such low prices. It costs around TK 0.1 million to 1.0 million to buy a quality and exotic Kashmiri Shawl in India where Bangladeshi weavers’ get only a few thousands of taka.”

Association President Neelkomol Basak said that the handloom product manufacturers have to pay a total of 67 percent tax on yarn import from China. On the other hand, Bangladeshi weavers depend on the third party to import the essential raw material.

products at Handloom Festival 2018
Figure 2: Exhibitor was showing their product.

For overall development of the handloom sector, Bangladesh government should reduce the existing tax rate and allow weavers to import raw materials directly from the manufacturer. Bangladeshi weavers also should increase their marketing skills and open their platform in digital marketing,” President of AFDB Manashasha Ahmed said.

“AFDB in collaboration with the weavers’ association will come up with an e-commerce site soon with a view to bringing the customers and weavers in a single online platform.”

A representative from Indian High Commission Soniya Tomar, visited the fair, she said to the Textile Today Reporter, “I came here because I can buy some products of my choice. I like handloom and Tangail saree. I was introduced to some traditional dresses and heritage of Bangladesh.”

SME Foundation’s Managing Director Md. Shafiqul Islam; President of Association of Fashion Designers of Bangladesh Manashasha Ahmed; Fashion Designer Chandrashekhar Saha, Kuhu Plamdan, Naushin Khair, Renuka Chamka, Tahsina Shaheen, Biplob Saha, and Md. Shamim Aktar were also present on the occasion.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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