The Bangladesh government has decided to restart 13 textiles mills that were shutdown 25 years ago due to huge losses and run them under a public-private partnership (PP) initiative, according to an official of the Ministry of Textiles and Jute. The official said this would be the textile sector’s largest project, with Tk15,200 crore set to be allocated to purchase new machinery, to replace the existing ones, to run these mills. The project will also ensure proper use of 380.47 acres of land allocated for the sector, said the official, adding that the land currently has a value of Tk1,592 crore.
The proposal of Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation (BTMC), which works under the ministry, to restart the 13 mills would be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday. State Minister for Textiles and Jute Mirza Azam told the Dhaka Tribune: “Our textiles industry will stand on its feet again now that we have taken the initiative to revive the mills under PPP.” He said the ministry has already completed the process to restart three of the mills.
The 13 mills up for overhaul are – RR Textile Mill, Amin Jute and Textile Mills and The Asiatic Cotton Mill in Chittagong; Rangamati Textile Mill at Ghagra, Rangamati; Magura Textile Mill in Magura; Bengal Textile Mill at Noapara, Jessore; Rajshahi Textile Mill at Sapura, Rajshahi; Sundarban Textile Mill in Satkhira; Dinajpur Textile Mill and Jalil Textile Mill in Dinajpur; Darwani Textile Mill in Nipharmari; Dost Textile Mill at Ranirhat, Feni; and Afsar Cotton Mill at Savar, Dhaka.
According to the proposal, the PPP’s duration will be 30 years, but could be renewed. Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation will be the major partner of the PPP while rest of the shares will go to private parties. It says the private parties will implement the project, maintain the mills and market the textile products. Of the 86 state-owned textile mills, BTMC handed over 60 mills to the Privatisation Commission between 1977 and 2013, and runs 24 factories across the country at present. A little over one year ago, the government had taken another initiative backed by Chinese funding to modernise 24 state-owned jute mills, with the expectation of yielding an annual net profit of around Tk975.8 crore and create 24,000 new jobs. The jute mills have been incurring losses for several years now, and in FY2015-16 alone their losses amounted to Tk588 crore.