The Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) on Wednesday lamented that foreign printers have monopolised the market making it impossible for Nigerians to freely import paper into the country.
The President and Chairman-in-Council of the Institute, Mr. Olugbemi Malomo, said the ease of doing business in the country has allowed foreigners to come unhindered to the retail level, thereby denying the industry opportunity to build capacity.
Olugbemi spoke at the second edition of the Institute’s annual National Conferences in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital with the theme: “Using Regulation To Revive The Ailing Printing Industry”.
Olugbemi also regretted that the obvious distortion in the equilibrium of the printing-related economy of the nation has resulted in the current predicament of the “ailing” industry.
For instance, the President said, the printing of educational materials and election materials particularly are done outside Nigeria to the detriment of the local economy.
Olugbemi expressed concern that a large number of printing jobs including ballot papers are done abroad to the detriment of the indigenous professional printers.
This, he said, is not due to the lack of capacity of the Nigerian printers but “because people are taking advantage of outdated government policy.”
He noted that a national policy would solve a significant portion of the current challenges facing the industry.
“There is an obvious distortion in the equilibrium of the printing-related economy of the nation resulting in the current predicament of our ailing industry.
According to him, Nigeria currently prints over 1.2 billion books annually and a significant part of them is printed outside Nigeria.
His words: “There is an obvious distortion in the equilibrium of the printing-related economy of the nation resulting in the current predicament of our ailing industry.
“Such distortions include the unhindered printing of educational material and election material particularly, outside Nigeria to the detriment of the local economy.
“The ease of doing business in Nigeria has allowed foreigners to come unhindered to the retail level of our industry , competing with locals with
Olugbemi who raised alarm over hike in the cost of paper, disclosed that over three trillion naira worth is imported into the country annually, constituting a strain on the country’s foreign exchange.
The CIPPON disclosed that, Nigeria imports N3trillion worth of papers annually.
He quizzed “Are we going to continue to be helpless and hapless ?”
“Every election year there is always a disruption on the election supply chain system due to printing of ballot paper abroad. What will happen to our electioneering system if there is a new wave of pandemic where local production is not intentionally developed?”