The authorities concerned are now putting emphasize on constructing ‘Washery Plant’ which is likely to play strong role as a linkage industry for salt industry. At the same time, this will reduce the cost of importing caustic soda in the raw material sector.
The Ministry of Commerce is looking at the new possibilities of the washery plant in the salt industry.
The Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTCC) has recently submitted a report to the Commerce Ministry on the possibility. It said that allowing the import of unrefined or boulder salt as raw material for the Salt Washery Plant would save huge foreign exchange while safeguarding domestic salt cultivation. At the same time, it will open new doors for employment as a salt connecting industry.
Paritosh Kanti Saha, former president of the Salt Industry Owners’ Association, told media, “The country needs to import near about 4.5 lakh tonnes of salt as raw material for caustic soda and chlorine. But there are allegations of double the import of salt.”
“The extra salt is sold on the open market. As a result, local farmers and mill owners are affecting from this and government losing revenue. Because 92 percent import duty has to be paid on general salt import. And if salt is imported as raw material, you have to pay 30 percent. Since there is no opportunity to import common salt, they take the opportunity to import it as raw material for industry. Therefore, if a washery plant can be set up in the country, the import of caustic soda as a raw material will decrease. Value addition will happen in the local market. As a result, foreign exchange will be saved,” Paritosh added.
According to the BTTC report, salt producing companies can construct washery plant. For this they have to take new registration. At the same time the national salt policy and the existing import policy need to be amended.
According to the report, no company can directly import salt in the country as per government policy. However, those involved in the industry, which produces caustic soda, chlorine or medicine, can import ordinary salt as a raw material after refining or washing it.
In this regard, former chairman of BTTC Mortuza Reza Chowdhury said, “If there is a washery plant in the country, it will be a new linkage industry against the import. It will save foreign exchange in addition to huge employment.”