To drive economic diversification goal there is need for gradually and consistent plans for catching up with the required speed among non-oil sectors like Ceramics Industry in Nigeria’s first international trade fair
The startling revelation that Nigeria spends about $600 million (N93 billion) yearly on importation of ceramic products whereas it ranks ninth among the world’s consumers of ceramic products provoked discussions by various local and foreign stakeholders who gathered at the Sheraton Hotels Ikeja between August, 27th through to 28th, 2014 for the first International ceramic fair ever to be held in Nigeria.
Experts project a market value of about $408 billion by 2018 if Nigeria is able to harness the abundant raw materials in the country which will create well over 1.2 million direct and indirect jobs along the ceramic industry value chain.
The fair was organized by Epina Technologies Limited, a global learning and engineering blended solutions provider in Africa in collaboration with various government agencies including the Bank of Industries, BOI, Raw Materials Research and Development Council of Nigeria, RMRDC, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and a host of others. It also featured exhibition of different ceramic products which can be used for manufacturing electronics components, in automobile industry, aviation industry, health instruments, domestic utensils, hotels, military wares, and vehicles as well as in the oil and gas industries. The fair served as an exposé to the limitless value inherent in ceramics production.
According to Professor Eguakhide Patrick Oaikhinan, the CEO, Epina Technologies, the bane of the Nigerian ceramic industry is not the availability of raw materials, but absence of the prerequisite skill set and non-availability of right technology needed to explore the untapped goldmine. “We don’t have ceramics industries because we don’t have people to develop it, he said”. In support of the ongoing efforts of the government to diversify the economy, Epina Technologies volunteered to provide training and technical for as many Nigerians that would embrace the ceramic business. Prof. Oaikhinan sought the mandate of the attendees to continue to push and make ceramics industry another goose that will lay Nigeria’s golden egg saying: “if we can concentrate in the development of ceramics, we will rule the world…. This stage we are in is a critical stage…you don’t need to bring money to support us, but if you can give us money, no problem…we have the opportunity now to bring our boys and girls off the street” to train them in the business of ceramics.
On his part, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Bank of Industry, Rasheed Adejare Olaoluwa Bank of Industry represented by Adekogbe Ezekiel Olusegun, pledged its total support for Epina’s ceramics industry initiative promising to provide funds to all prospective entrants to the new found business. He went further to educate the attendees on the simple modalities of securing loans from the BOI to enable them fast track their interest. His final message: “BOI is ready, is positioned and very desirous of taking the ceramic business and industry to the next level that we all desire”.
The Director-General Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr John Isemede in his remarks drummed up support for the efforts of Epina Technologies to revive the comatose ceramics industry through collaboration and training.
He stressed the need for the country to take advantage presented by the potentials in the sector so as to develop and enhance inclusive growth and job creation.