Plastic pipe industry growing fast
The domestic plastic pipe industry is growing at around 20 per cent a year thanks to its rising demand in the ongoing government development projects and modern water supply, sewerage and irrigation systems.
Around Tk 6,000 crore worth of plastic pipes were sold in 2020 and 80 per cent of the demand was met by the major local manufacturers, including RFL Plastics, National Polymer, Lira, Gazi, Anwar Polymer Industries Ltd and Bengal Plastic.
"The rising purchasing capacity of people and increasing tendency of using modern technology in water supply and sewerage system have fuelled the demand for pipe," said Riad Mahmud, managing director of National Polymer.
Widespread urbanisation has also played a major role, he said.
People are adopting state-of-the-art technologies to boost agricultural yield to ensure best use of land amid rising population and depleting agricultural lands, he said. "These are giving a boost to the demand for pipe."
Among the local manufacturers, RFL Plastics and National Polymer are the major suppliers in the sector where 15,000 people are directly employed.
Pipes are one of the most important construction materials that are used for a variety of purposes, including house construction, irrigation, drinking water supply and sewerage, said Kamruzzaman Kamal, director for marketing of Pran-RFL Group that run RFL Plastics, the market leader.
The manufacturers produce various types of components along with main pipe, which are used to connect the pipes to the pipeline, change the direction of the pipeline, remove the branch line from the main pipeline and connect the small pipes with the big ones, he said. Two decades ago, Bangladesh used to meet 90 per cent of its demand for pipe through imports from China, India, Malaysia and other countries, he said.
"The situation has changed a lot, as very high quality pipes are produced locally now. Around 80 per cent of the pipes used in the country at present are manufactured locally."
Bangladesh will be self-sufficient in pipe manufacturing and will also be ready to export its produce in the next few years, said the official of RFL Plastics, where over 5,000 people work in the manufacturing of RFL pipes and fittings.
The country and the buyers will benefit if a standard can be maintained in pipe and fittings production, said Mahmud of National Polymer.
The subsidy the government now provides to the pipes that are imported for their use in development projects is a barrier to the growth of the local pipe industry, he said.
"That is why the duty on imported pipes should be increased for the further development of the local industry."
The small entrepreneurs, who manufacturer substandard products, will ultimately get ousted from the market, as people now prefer buying quality product only, said Manwar Hossain, group managing director of Anwar Group, which runs Anwar Polymer.