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15 December, 2019 12:57:30 AM

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CERAMICS NOW BOOMING INDUSTRY

MD HABIBULLA, Dhaka
CERAMICS NOW BOOMING INDUSTRY

he ceramics industry in Bangladesh has turned into a booming manufacturing sector over the last few years, thanks to growing demand both in local and international markets.

Since 1958, this sector has flourished tremendously and, in last ten years, the total ceramic industry’s production growth rose by almost 200 per cent.

The domestic market for ceramic products, including tableware, tiles and sanitary ware, is worth about Tk 6,000 crore annually. Bangladesh exported ceramic products worth Tk 585 crore last year, according to Bangladesh Ceramics Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA).

Annually, the companies manufacture about 25 crore pieces of tableware, 15 crore square feet of tiles and 50 lakh pieces of sanitary ware.

A major part of the tableware goes to Europe and to the Middle East.

According to Bangladesh Ceramics Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA), a total of 66 brands, more than one hundred manufacturing companies, both small and medium, have evolved in the country. At present, the sector employs around 5,00,000 people, including 55,000 direct employees and those from the backward-linkage industries.

Of these factories, 20 make tableware, 28 tiles, while 18 are producing sanitary ware. Investment of all the factories amounts to a total of Tk 8,616 crore.

BCMEA president Shirajul Islam Mollah said that about 90 per cent of the local demand for ceramic products used to be met by imports in the 1980s, but local companies now supply nearly 85 per cent of the total requirement,” he said.

As per BCMEA data, total domestic market consumption of ceramic products was around Tk 5,450 crore in FY2017-18, of which locally produced ceramic products were worth nearly Tk 4,340 crore, while imports hit Tk 1,110 crore. In case of tableware, 92.87 per cent of the market demand is met by locally produced goods, while the remaining 7.13 per cent with imported products.

A study by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says ceramics, with a 200 per cent growth in the last five years, is now the top emerging industry in Bangladesh.

At the end of 2018, the market size of the ceramic industry was Tk 5,950 crore, to which the tiles industry contributed the most with Tk4, 500 crore. The size of the tableware and the sanitary ware industries were Tk 500 crore and Tk 920 crore respectively, adds USAID.

The 200 per cent growth in the ceramic industry is centred on the tiles industry, according to the ceramic manufacturers and exporters association. Ceramic products have seen an overall growth of 20–22 per cent, whereas it is 30–35 per cent for the tiles industry.

Bangladeshi ceramics now in over 50 countries

The country exported a very nominal amount of ceramic products just a decade ago, but that began to change from 2016. At present, Bangladeshi ceramic products are going to more than 50 countries.

According to the data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladeshi companies exported ceramic goods worth Tk 585 crore in the 2018–19 fiscal year.

Of different ceramic products, tableware is exported to more than 50 countries including the US, Canada, European Union countries and Australia; tiles to India, Nepal and Bhutan; and sanitary ware to the Middle East, especially to the UAE.

BCMEA president Shirajul Islam Mollah said that the country’s producers were now shipping ceramics to 50 countries around the world and earned about $50 million yearly on an average, which was only 4 per cent of the global market.

“We have a plan to explore at least 20–25 per cent of the global market by the next 5–7 years,” said Mollah.

He said product diversification with competitive prices helped the sector boost its exports.

“In our country, almost every ceramic industry maintains the international quality of their products and that’s why we have a big international market of our products," he added.

Yet, there are still

challenges

Sector insiders mention gas supply as the main challenge facing the local ceramic industry. Comparatively high import duty on raw materials is another challenge for the sector.

Market insiders said the industry got government support in many ways but the inadequate supply of natural gas was still one of the major challenges for its growth.

The problems can be solved by providing revenue incentives to local entrepreneurs, said Mollah.

He added that import duty could be reduced on raw material and on equipment to be used for expanding the export market and capture the local market. He also said that supplementary duty should be imposed only on the import of products manufactured abroad.

As far as the market share of specific products is concerned, Shinepukur Ceramics Ltd, a part of the Beximco Group, leads the tableware industry. The company currently holds 30 per cent of a Tk 500-crore market. In 2018, it had a turnover of Tk 152 crore.

Shinepukur is followed by Monno Ceramics, whose sales last year were Tk 140 crore. Some other firms, including Farr and Star, have a significant share of the market.

Tanvirul Islam, senior manager (head of marketing) of Shinepukur ceramics limited said that we have exported our tableware to more than 35 countries across the world.

“The increase in the price of gas and difficulties with the supply of raw material has been hindering growth in the sector,” he said.

Expo to boost local brands

In order to boost local brands, a three-day international Ceramic Expo Bangladesh 2019 was held from December 5 to 7 at the International Convention City Bashundhara in the capital.

This was the second edition of the exhibition the BCMEA has been arranging since 2017.

A total of 120 companies and 150 brands from 20 countries, including major Bangladeshi brands, participated in the expo to showcase their products.

Different local and international ceramic companies, including Shinepukur , Akij, Sheltech, Dbl, Stella, Mir, Greatwall, Monno, Monica, Ferro, Johnson, Saint-Gobain showcased their tiles, sanitary wares and tableware in the exhibition.

On the first day of the exhibition, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi inaugurated the exhibition, organised by the Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA).

At the ends of the ceramic expo, the manufacturers got a huge response with an export order of $5.5 million from visitors and buyers.

Ceramic manufacturers got export orders worth $5.5 million from five countries — Italy, Brazil, India, Greece and Sweden, according to the BCMEA.

Irfan Uddin, general secretary of the association, said, “We are highly satisfied as we got overwhelming responses from manufacturers, buyers and visitors.

He said that the participants in the expo were more than double this year compared to the previous one.

“Some 500 international delegates and foreign buyers attended the event, while it was only 150 in 2017,” Irfan added.

The BCMEA general secretary said the main objective of the event was to bring all stakeholders of the ceramic industry under one roof and thus create an opportunity for global exposure of the country’s ceramic products. “We’ve succeeded in doing that,” Irfan added.

He said the manufacturers and exporters had an opportunity to enhance their communication with foreign buyers through the expo.

Jubayed Rasel, marketing manager of Akij Ceramics Limited, said, “We have got a huge response from both the local and foreign buyers this year.”

“Annual growth of our company is about 20 per cent. We export our products across the Middle East and UK,” he said.

Govt to give assistance

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi recently said that the government would provide necessary help and increase facilities for the exporters to boost the export of ceramic products.

“The country’s ceramic products have become popular among people across the world. The demand of ceramic products is increasing day by day,” he said.

Tipu Munshi said Bangladesh has all the facilities including environment-friendly factories, gas, electricity and skilled manpower for producing ceramic products. “Bangladesh has the capability to sustain itself in the competitive global ceramic market,” he added.

The minister also said that no businessmen of the country can succeed in business with the present rate of loan interest. One after another, the factories will close and the number of loan defaulters would increase.

EA

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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