CIPPON seeks NSA’s intervention to save printing industry
The Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) has urged the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to take practical steps to halt the imminent total collapse of the printing and graphic communication industry.
President and Chairman in the Council of the Institute, Olugbemi Malomo, said the Nigerian printing industry, which employs over 10 million Nigerians within its value chain, is currently under siege laid by few foreigners, who monopolise the market and make it impossible for Nigerians to freely import paper into the country.
In a statement, Malomo lamented the arbitrary increase in the cost of papers in Nigeria, declaring the cartel involved in the importation of papers as a threat to national security.
He said CIPPON, charged with the duty of regulating, controlling, and managing the affairs of printers and related matters in Nigeria, is alarmed by the incessant increment at the prices of papers by the cartel.
Noting that paper is the biggest raw material that constituted more than 50 per cent of any printing contract, maintained that the increase in the cost of papers, which is currently around 300 per cent, far exceeded the rise in foreign exchange on commodities.
The CIPPON president stated that not only do the foreigners sell papers at higher rates, they also are competing with indigenous printers on the commercial side, taking their business, since most of them are unable to match their prices, thereby raising anti-trust issues.
He cited instances of how the foreigners perfected their heinous deeds during the last general elections.
According to him, it got so bad that that everywhere an average Nigerian went to buy paper for importation into the country, they met a brick wall and were referred back home to the cartel, who control the price of papers and sell at prices far above what obtains at the international market.
The consequences, Malomo said are affecting the institute, as members are beginning to sell-off their equipment and layoff workers almost on daily basis due to lack of jobs.
“Additionally, with the increasing costs in printing due to the progressively unending rise in paper costs, prices of books will go up, and ultimately put critical books and textbooks beyond the reach of students. If this trend continues unabated, there will be massive unemployment that could disrupt the country’s fragile peace,” he said.
He said that the institute has been engaging the Ministry of Trade and Investments on the need for a lasting solution to the scarcity of paper, noting that Nigeria has three paper mills, all of which are completely moribund.
He added that the institute had made some presentations to the government on suggested short and long-term solutions, which ought to be considered without delay, saying “Our neighboring country, Ghana, is already making efforts towards its paper mill, which will extensively target the Nigerian market.”