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Published On: Thu, Dec 19th, 2019

Opportunities in chemical business and value chain

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By Nwosu Chidiebele

The chemical industry in any country usually has the greatest business opportunities. In Nigeria, the opportunities in the chemical production and business are immeasurable and very vast that less than 6% of it has been tapped. This is in contrast to developed countries as United States, Uk, Canada and Asian countries whom have a more developed chemical market.
The reason is the fact that almost everything on the surface of the earth is composed of chemicals. Hence there is absolutely nothing that one can do in this life without involving chemical components at one stage or the other.
It is a necessity and no one can do without it. Now, think of it from the food we eat, the house we live, the road we use, the clothes we wear, drugs we take, water we drink, the land we farm, chemicals of various quantities and types have to make all these possible. This is the reason why there cannot be life as it is today without the chemical industry.
The development of this industry has suffered. It has suffered neglect and setback. The major reason is that most people are ignorant of the vast opportunities the chemical industries hold in terms of business and job creation. The opportunities are vast and more than other sectors of the economy. Nigeria provides vast market opportunities for many established and would be entrepreneurs to venture in this sector of the economy. The population is growing geometrically and so are the people needs. So, industrialist, entrepreneurs and would be entrepreneurs like you are being relied upon to bridge the gaps. I also want to let you know that the chemical Production industry is a huge market with range of chemical products such as cosmetics, adhesives, beverages, disinfectants, inks, soaps and detergents, industrial chemicals, wood finishes, lubricants to mention but a few going a long way to provide a decent business opportunity for any willing investor. Another positive is the massive income opportunities which are inherent in this industry.
The income earning potential on full scale can give one a lifestyle of choice, leveraging on the increasing population of this country. Nigeria runs a consumption based economy. A cake consumption instead of cake baking economy. It is an open and begging opportunities for more investment in the chemical production and manufacturing business. And with a population of over 160 million whom have to depend on the chemical products to survive, it becomes necessary to start a chemical business of your own. Surely, anyone can start and can start in small scale and with the necessary skills, information and knowledge, success is assured.
Nigeria companies consume in excess of $3.58 billion dollars’ worth of chemicals per annum but produces just $380 million dollar in equivalent creating a short fall of $3.2 billion dollar. The shortfall is filled mainly with importation. There are opportunities for new entrants to enter the industry and take advantage of healthy margins. A small scale producer can leverage on a strategic strength of good quality at reasonable price to create a cutting edge advantage against the big players whose products are of higher prices.
In the world of chemical business, planning play a very important role in determining its success. Though it is not different in other business, certain step has to follow including the proper procedure to get the right results. To survive and succeed in making any chemical product in Nigeria, the following steps are vital:
This is the first step. Make a SWOT analysis. This is necessary as it will give you an edge and a basic foundation to grow your business.
SWOT means: Strength, Weakness, opportunities and Threats.
Strength: What is your strength? Everyone has the same. Are you a good entrepreneur? Is your qualification, knowledge, training, experience, personality trait, passion, network, and finances among others, at advantage to you? Capitalize on your strength. Your strength lies where you have major advantage over others.
Weakness: Find where your negative points lie. When you identify them clearly then it is much easier to deal with them. Are you poor in selling, keeping books or supervising people? Leverage on areas where you are weak. Find and use the best hands in the area where you have weakness.
Opportunity: Opportunities are untapped or not fully tapped prospects. Finding and filling a gap in the market for any chemical product is an opportunity to make good gains. Eventually, the market might start getting saturated due to increasing competitors. If you invent a product that is needed by people, you have an opportunity. In the Nigerian chemical industry, the opportunities for making chemical products are limitless.
Threat: What potential dangers are ahead of your business venture? These could be government policies, natural disasters like floods, cyclones, draught and conflicts like community clashes, militancy, wars among others. A ban in the use of your major raw material can be a big threat to your operations. Watch out for threat far ahead and do something to survive bad times. Unfavorable competition by imported product occasioned by government policy can affect your business.
After putting it in SWOT, you can now know where to improve upon, leverage or device strategies to survive and succeed as an entrepreneur in chemical business.
Get the necessary information, contacts and training to empower yourself. It can be motivational, managerial and technical. The first stage is to go for entrepreneurship training if you have not done so. Do not ignore this, no matter your level of academic qualification. There are many centers in Nigeria where you can get this type of training at little or no cost e.g SMEDAN, NASSI, NDE, NASME, CBN, Association of chambers of commerce, Industries, Miners & Agriculture are some of the reliable ones.
This can be a difficult stage but you have got passion. Make a list of chemical products you will naturally want to produce if you had everything you need to do so. Scrutinize and grade them according to market demand. This may require some market survey or consulting a market expert. Make a list of the five most popular and subject each one to:

Nwosu is a Public Affairs Analyst.

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