Match box producers call for ban on importing lighters

National Small Matchbox Manufacturers’ Association has appealed to the Union and Tamil Nadu governments to ban import of plastic lighters.

In the larger public interest and in the interest of six lakh daily wage earners who were dependent on match box units for their livelihood, the governments should seriously consider the demand and put an end to import of plastic lighters, said its general secretary V S Sethurathinam.

Speaking to reporters here on Sunday, he said that there were 2,530 match units in different parts of Tamil Nadu, which included Thoothukudi, Tenkasi, Virudhunagar, Gudiyatham in Vellore and Kaveripattinam in Krishnagiri districts.

Already, the raw material prices had escalated manifold that the producers were finding the going tough. With cost of diesel and labour also having gone up, the manufacturers, especially those running small and cottage units, found it very difficult to run their business. At a time when the manufacturers have been demanding the banks to reduce the rates of interest and increase the quantum of loans for setting up state-of-the-art imported machinery, the Union government, through its budget announcement, should help the industry, Mr Sethurathinam said.

Moreover, incentives for export of the matches had drastically come down from 11 % to a meagre 1.5 %. This had totally demoralised manufacturers from going for exports. When even countries such as Pakistan gave 20% incentive to their exporters, the Indian government should consider the appeal.

The capital to establish machinery worked out to around ₹5 crore. Nationalised banks should be told to offer loans to manufacturers for the machinery. After nearly 14 years, the price of a match box had been raised to ₹2 in 2021, he added.

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