Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Thursday assured ceramic industry leaders that the ongoing gas supply crisis, which has affected the production in factories, would be solved in January next year.
The minister made the assurance at the inauguration ceremony of the third Ceramic Expo Bangladesh-2022, which began at the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB).
The event organised by Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA) will end on 26th November. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi formally inaugurated the exhibition.
Admitting the ongoing gas crisis in the country's industrial sector, the minister said, "We know the gas crisis because of the global situation is hampering the production in factories. We hope it will be solved by January 2023."
"We will Hold a meeting with top government officials, including business leaders, to find a sustainable solution to the present crisis," Tipu Munshi added, inviting the BCMEA leaders to sit with the government to address their demands and the gas crisis.
Bangladesh currently exports ceramic goods, including tiles, tableware, and sanitary items, to more than 50 countries, according to BCMEA. Some 500,000 people are involved in the sector, making it among the top industrial sectors in Bangladesh.
The commerce minister praised the industry leaders for making significant growth as some 80-85 per cent of the local market demand is met by the local companies. He believes the ceramic industry, like RMG, will be among the top foreign currency earners.
Senior Vice President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) Mostofa Azad Chowdhury advocated for similar government support so that ceramic and other industries can help the country with the inflow of dollars in return as businesses are facing a dollar crisis amid declining dollar reserve.
Speakers also suggested enhancing the capacity to compete with global competitors worldwide.
The exhibition will be by representatives of some 150 global brands, manufacturers and suppliers of ceramic raw materials and machinery from 15 to 20 countries.
A skilled workforce, low labour cost and sufficient supply of sulphur-free natural gas, have been a boon for the local industry to grow further and produce ceramic goods on a global scale and standard, they say.
BCMEA President Shirajul Islam Mollah said that more than 70 industrial factories of ceramics, tableware, tiles sanitaryware have already been established in the country.
200 brands of 90 companies from over 15 countries are participating in the expo to display their products, technology and innovation. Organisers expected over 300 delegates from different countries, making it one of the largest ceramic exhibitions in South Asia.
The industry now has about $1.7 billion in investments. The industry's export earnings are over $50 million, meeting 85 per cent of the total local demand.
The sales in the local market are about USD 500 million annually. In the last 10 years, production in the ceramic sector has increased by 200 per cent and investment by nearly 20 per cent.
BCMEA Secretary General Irfan Uddin spoke on the occasion.
At the ceramic expo, manufacturers, exporters and suppliers will be able to showcase their new products, the latest technology and expertise globally at this expo.