Discrepancies between duties on imported books and materials used for printing, the collapse of paper mills and importation of printed materials may have caused a loss of over N3 trillion, the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) has said.
Although President Muhammadu Buhari had signed Executive Order Five to increase the patronage of local firms for products and services readily available in the country, CIPPON accused ministries and agencies of awarding printing contracts to foreign firms.
President of the institute, Olugbemi Malomo, who spoke in Abuja said printed materials are imported into the country as education attracts almost zero duty. This development, according to him, has paved the way for unrestrained importation of printed materials.
Malomo noted that the prevailing situation has created over N3 trillion losses, stalling the capacity of the industry to address unemployment and contribute meaningfully to national development.
He insisted that policy inconsistency in the sector is costing as much as 10 million jobs, adding that neighouring countries such as Ghana are exploiting the loopholes to milk Nigeria’s market.
Malomo says Nigeria’s population makes printing a viable industry. He stressed that despite emerging issues like the Internet, e-library, audiobooks and others, billions of books are needed yearly to meet educational, religious and other demands.
According to him, reviving the sector will create massive jobs. He said necessary policies that will stimulate the growth of the local market and boost investment are needed.
Malomo said insecurity challenges would persist if people are not gainfully employed, stressing that industries that are capable of addressing Nigeria’s economic woes and provide jobs should be given priority attention.
“One of the things that the government should address is inconsistency in policies. Now if I want to print a book as a printer, I have to bring in papers. I pay 25 per cent duty on the papers.
“But if I go outside to print books and bring them as education materials, I pay zero per cent. We can’t compete because of this.
“Recently, Ghana set up a paper mill. Our paper mills are moribund. They are targeting our large population. We call on the government to see how our paper mills can be revived. This can provide massive employment,” Malomo said.
He stressed the need for a printing industry ecosystem to ensure that the country has printing clusters where professionals would collaborate is required.
Malomo said a 10-year capacity development plan is being created with the intention of creating jobs, ensure wealth creation.