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Any hope for ceramics industry in 2015?

Any hope for ceramics industry in 2015?

Ceramics has remained largely neglected in the country, owing to a private sector that sees little opportunities in the industry  and a public  sector that has not deemed it fit to harness and develop it.

2014 characterised an ‘awakening’ of the sector by Patrick Eguakhide Oaikhinan,  chief executive officer (CEO),Epina Technologies Limited, who held the first ever ceramics trade fair in the country, in Lagos.

With annual market value of $600 million, Oaikhinan brought to the fore some underlying opportunities in the industry such as huge returns, employment generation and economic diversification.

According to him, research has shown that a well-developed ceramics industry can create 700,000 and 500,000 direct and indirect jobs respectively in the economy.

This may be created through various units such as raw materials processing, the body forming or preparation, moulding,  drying and firing, among others, say experts.

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He identified the problems in the industry absence as absence of skilled manpower and lack of no platform to learn ceramics science or technology.

During the announcement of West African Ceramics Limited’s plans to invest $50 in Agbara, Ogun State, Lawal Idirisu, group executive director, had pointed out opportunities in the industry: 

‘’The market demand for quality tiles as obtainable in European countries such as Spain and Italy is rising on an alarming rate owing to the trends in the home, property, and real estate industry. We want to meet both domestic demands and export to the West Africa.’’ 

Ceramics includes sanitary wares, ceramics spark plugs, ceramics porcelain, ceramics floor and wall tiles.

Now in 2015, stakeholders are asking whether the Federal Government will summon courage to develop solid minerals (raw materials) such as quartz kaolin, feldspar, silicon and clay to attract investors. They wonder if the Industrial Fund can train the needed manpower in the industry when investors begin to show interest.