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BCMEA seeks policy support to sustain export growth

Three-day ceramic expo begins in city Dec 5

FE REPORT | December 01, 2019 00:00:00

Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Md Shirajul Islam Mollah (3rd from L) addressing the press conference at Dhaka Club in the city on Saturday — FE Photo

Government's policy support with cash incentive and minimising time to discharge raw materials at Chattogram seaport are crucial for sustaining the export growth of the country's ceramic sector, industry leaders said on Saturday.

The leaders of Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA) also said tapping the full potential of the sector could generate huge employment opportunities and fetch more foreign currencies.

They made the remarks at a press conference at the city's Dhaka Club, announcing a three-day 'Ceramic Expo Bangladesh 2019' which will begin on December 5 at the capital's International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB).

The BCMEA President Md Shirajul Islam Mollah, General Secretary Irfan Uddin, and two directors Gazi Mohammad Humayun Kabir and Abdul Hakim attended the conference among others.

Mr. Mollah expected that the second edition of the expo would create greater interaction among the local and international stakeholders under one roof.

He said currently 56 ceramic manufacturing businesses are operating in the country while 12 others are preparing to start operations within one to two years.

"The production of the sector has been increased by 200 per cent in the last one decade while investment surged by 20 per cent," he added.

Total investment is estimated to be around Tk 85 billion in the sector, which has created employment for 0.5 million people directly and indirectly, he said.

Responding to a query, Mr. Mollah said the sector has been growing fast despite some challenges like higher lead time in delivery of raw materials.

"A mother vessel carrying raw materials has to wait for a long duration varying from 20 to 60 days in some cases at the Chittagong seaport," he said, adding that they have to count demurrage for the delay.

He said the sector is similar to apparel sector as it is heavily dependent on imported raw materials from other countries.

He also said that the government should increase the rate of cash incentive to 20 per cent from existing 10 per cent on export of ceramic goods from Bangladesh.

The local ceramic makers bring in around US$ 50 million per year from over 50 export destinations securing 3-4 per cent of the international market share, he said.

The BCMEA is eying to increase the market share in coming days, he said, adding that the upcoming expo will be crucial for promoting the sector.

Mr. Irfan Uddin said Bangladeshi ceramic products are now drawing attention of international buyers thanks to high quality and attractive designs.

"We will continue to create new export destinations after meeting around 85 per cent of our local demand," he said.

According to the organisers, 120 businesses representing 20 countries including Bangladesh, India, China, Italy and France will take part at the event to exhibit their products and services.

Commerce minister Tipu Munshi is scheduled to inaugurate the event that will remain open for the visitors from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm everyday without any entry fee.

Around 150 brands related to ceramic manufacturing will show wide range of products, services and new technology at the fair.

A number of seminars on skills development, branding, and leadership will take place on the sidelines of the fair.

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