The year 2020 emerged as the villain & the culprit for undercutting the hope for Bangladesh Paper Industry by halting the impressive export performance in previous year.
Many pundits of Macro Economic research fraternities of the country have been optimistic about the export growth of various paper products to enrich the export basket of Bangladesh. But unfortunately the year 2020 has become the darkest part of the history of Bangladesh Paper Industry due to COVID-19 and its impact on the paper sector.
In the pandemic it is now very much pertinent that main draw backs of our paper industry is over dependence on writing and printing paper and lack of diversification. Our country’s current production capacity is roughly 1.5 million metric ton and 70% of this capacity is writing & printing paper. So, when government announced closure of all educational institute in March 2020 it become an obvious hit to writing & printing paper as such 70% capacity of whole industry has become idle. Till now there is no sign of recovery of that sudden demise of demand for writing & printing paper.
The ultimate consequence of COVID-19 on Bangladesh paper industry is extremely fatal. The famous English daily THE BUSINESS STANDARD (TBS) recently published an article on this topic where the mentioned data like as follows:
- Demand falls by 80%
- 80% of the mills are fully closed
- Rest 20% mills are running on 20% capacity (estimated)
- Finished products are sold at lower price than its cost
- Book publishing reduced substantially
- Retail & whole sale business collapsed
The lesson learnt from this crisis are:
- The paper industry is highly concentrated on writing & printing paper which must be addressed by introducing diversified products.
- Before pandemic Bangladesh used to import 1 million tons of paper for packaging industry. This is huge opportunity for investors to focus on investing technology which can produce similar types of paper which are now being imported at a high cost.
- Paper manufacturers association must be organized to pledge government for subsidiary to set up import substitute industry and environment friendly paper industry.
- Unlike writing & printing paper packaging is a potential sector which has demand even in this pandemic. Therefore the industry has to focus more on papers which are used in export packing of all kinds of consumer goods.
- The industry must have preparation to face any shock like COVID-19in their contingency plan.
- The industry leaders must be trained on financial management during the crisis which may be manmade or God gifted.
In the end we can summarize that as a member of the society and responsible citizen all business entity must have preparation to face uncertainty and economic shock which may arise due to reason not under our control. At the same time they must have the control to reinvent the business model to emerge stronger from any such crisis so that the Shattered Hope can be turned into a ‘Dream Comes True’ situation. That needs lots of Hard Work and determination to survive under any circumstances.