Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the Textiles and Jute Ministry officials to take necessary steps to reclaim the jute mills and industries from private entrepreneurs who have failed to resume their operation as they had promised. These mills and factories had been sold or privatized during 2009-2013.
She also said that no state-owned industry will be leased out or sold from now on. The directives came following recommendations made by a high powered committee of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
The PMO committee found out that Minister Abdul Latif Siddique, who was sacked yesterday over his derogatory comments on hajj and Prophet Muhammad (SM), sold 47 state-owned jute mills and factories in 2009-2013 either without inviting tenders or in non-transparent ways. It recommended that the government should reclaim them and take action against those involved in the underhand dealings.
She also asked the ministry officials to find out ways to allocate tracts of unused government lands to private entrepreneurs who are inclined to process and further develop jute products, thus ensuring the best use of lands.
Citing Bangladeshi scientists' success in decoding genome sequencing of jute, Hasina said that her government has always promoted the jute sector by providing adequate funds for research on jute and will continue to do so to innovate more improved varieties of jute and high quality to bring back its past glory.
Referring to enactment of a new law to make use of jute bags mandatory for packaging, the premier asked the ministry to procure modern machineries so that quality of jute products can be improved.
Against the backdrop of rising demand for jute products worldwide what with an increased awareness of environment-friendly products, she suggested producing high quality sarees, suit pieces, curtains and carpets and other products from jute to capture the market abroad.
State Minister for Textiles and Jute Mirza Azam said that the premier directed officials concerned to rebuild jute and silk mills under public-private partnership projects. The government will provide the land and private companies will build the mills, and the government will have shares and managerial authority.
The ministry will take necessary measures shortly as they have already won legal tangles over five mills.
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