Special Correspondent: Bangladesh Publisher and Booksellers Association (BAPUS) has sought a special allocation of Tk1,600 crore from the government to help keep their businesses afloat amid the unprecedented crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic.
About 90% of the publishers and sellers could not secure any loans under the stimulus packages, as they operated without loans and therefore do not have an existing bank-customer relationship, BAPUS President Md Arif Hossain Choton said yesterday.
Providing more details at a press conference in Dhaka Reporters Unity, Choton said, “This industry is yet to get any special allocation from the government. Without any support, publishers, sellers and people working in the sector are leading a miserable existence.
“We have suffered Tk7,550 crore in losses since March 2020. Of the money, businesses paid Tk250 crore in rent and Tk300 crore as salary for staff. Publishers and booksellers also suffered capital losses amounting to Tk1,500 crore and Tk5500 crore respectively within the period.”
The BAPUS president sought an allocation of Tk1,100 crore to revive the industry, and Tk500 crore as a special budget to buy academic and creative books for libraries at schools and colleges across the country.
“Last year, we demanded Tk100 crore as a special allocation for the industry and Tk10 crore as financial assistance for the publishers and sellers. But the government is yet to disburse any incentives to us,” Choton added.
At the event, BAPUS Vice-President Shyamol Paul said, “The association has 26,000 members and about 2 lakh staff. Considering our substantial losses since last year, it will not be possible for us to keep the industry afloat unless the Covid-19 situation improves or the government provides us with an incentive package.”
The BAPUS also demanded that the government include the publishing industry as an emergency sector and hoped that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will take immediate steps to save such businesses. According to the Packaging Industries Association of Bangladesh (PIAB), the printing and publishing industry is geared towards books, garment accessories, medicine and food accessories, and also involved with other business entities.
Among them, 2,500 printing presses are for books, 2,000 for garment accessories, and 500 for food services. The rest are involved with different types of businesses.
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