IN a seminar organised by the Board of Investment called ‘Leather and Leather Goods: Next to RMG’, experts and entrepreneurs shared that the government and businesses should take immediate steps to enhance productivity and value addition in the leather sector to explore huge untapped international export market, reported an English daily on Monday. Amongst other suggestions, political stability was considered vital for the growth of the sector. News reports clarified that tannery owners are supposed to relocate their factories from the city’s Hazaribag to the Tannery Industrial Estate at Savar and the sector has all the potentials to grow like the RMG sector based on locally available raw materials. Even though factory relocation was supposed to be done by March this year, officials confirmed that it may be impossible as only 40 out of the 155 factories located at Hazaribag made some progress in construction work of factory buildings at Savar Estate. According to reports entrepreneurs could hardly use 40 percent of productivity mainly due to lack of skilled manpower, advanced technology, infrastructure and funds. Experts opined that the government and entrepreneurs would have to improve the unskilled manpower, research and development situation through setting up skill development institutes and training centres. They also added that improving environmental and compliance issues are also similarly important to keep international market intact particularly the European Union which has been threatening to stop to buy goods from Bangladesh on environmental issues. The government’s declaration that any factory remaining at Hazaribag after this year’s relocation deadline i.e; March 31, would be demolished. It would have been an appreciable move had the factory owners taken the threat seriously. The government’s shady track record shows that they make big promises but rarely follow through with them. This not only is enabling the factory owners to be irresponsible, it is also making the whole transition an unnecessarily lengthy process which is having an immediate adverse effect on the environment and leather trade prospects. We only wonder, when will the government learn to facilitate good projects that help Bangladesh as a whole? Many experts and businessmen have shared their opinions time and again on how our tannery sector could enter the global market and eventually help our economy and a secure way to do is to protect the environment. The government must see the tannery sector’s potential and not simply urge the factory owners to relocate but offer them more effective incentives so that genuine improvements can be made. We hope that the government will mean business, and not indulge in words.