At present, the ceramic industry employs about five lakh people in the country, including 55,000 workers who are directly employed in more than 100 companies. Although annual sales are more than Tk6,000 crore, it may fall by 50% this year due to the pandemic.
Although sales stopped at the beginning of the lockdown, demand for ceramic products was created when the restriction was lifted. However, due to the lack of raw materials, ceramic manufacturers found it difficult to continue production. This sector is experiencing negative growth as people's earnings had fallen and the raw material supply system has not become normal yet.
Due to supply chain problems, raw material procurement costs have now risen by at least 15-20% compared to the normal time. Carrying costs at ports have increased as well. On the other hand, demand at the individual level has fallen. As a result, our production has not returned to normalcy yet.
In addition to the companies, the association has also taken steps to recover from losses and return to normalcy in 2021. We held two meetings with the government last month.
We proposed that the government reduce tariffs on raw material imports and cut supplementary tariffs in the local market. In addition to the turnaround of the housing sector, we expect to revive in 2021 if we get government benefits.
Md Shamsul Huda, vice-president of BCMEA and managing director of Great Wall Ceramic Industries.