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LCCI seeks improved patronage to revive moribund local producers

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Babatunde Ruwase


The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has expressed concern over the lack of patronage of locally-produced goods in Nigeria.

Indeed, the chamber added that locally-produced goods are still being faced with myriads of challenges such as high cost of bringing in raw materials, harsh operating business environment, and lack of patronage from government agencies despite being the highest spenders in the economy.

The President, LCCI, Babatunde Ruwase, at the inauguration of the Printing, Publishing and Allied (PPA) group in Lagos, said with the inauguration, the chamber would be able to focus more on issues hindering growth of the sector such as lack of patronage from government, and addressing issues of raw materials while also looking at backward integration.

 
In his words, “We have some facilities in Nigeria which have all gone moribund. We will also seek ways on how the federal government will patronise local publishing and printing companies. It is also like a focus group that will focus on challenges affecting the sector.
 
“The government must have local publishing and printing companies as the first choice when doing business. If we can get government to patronise publishing and printing companies, it will be better for the sector and the economy at large.”
Citing the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Ruwase said the size of the printing and publishing sector was valued at N20 billion in 2018, pointing out that it is one of the fast-growing sectors in Nigeria, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of about six per cent and 0.03 per cent in 2018.
  
“In response to the importance and performance of this sector, the chamber decided to create this group and we are very happy to identify with all the members of this vibrant group today,” he said.Also speaking, the Chairperson, PPA, Layo Okeowo, said the group would give operators a viable platform to engage government on key policies affecting the sector, and exchange ideas on its growth and development.
  
“We are positioning our industry to add immense value to our economy, which is said to have the capacity of attaining a value of $1 trillion by 2025. It is on record that this group has not been enjoying deserved patronage from various governments, Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs),” she said.She decried that most of the job opportunities, which should have been provided for local printers and publishers are taken overseas, saying the time to engage the government and other stakeholders on issues affecting the sector is now.She said local printers and publishers still have to depend on importation of papers due to the absence of paper mills in the country that can produce the required quality.

“Based on these painful realities, I am strongly persuaded that the time is ripe for printers and publishers to team up and establish a paper mill in the country, to manufacture the quality papers that are required,” she added.She also emphasized the need to reverse the current trend where the largest economic spender is not patronising members of the group, and ensuring that printing and publishing jobs are done locally to improve productivity, profitability of members to generate wealth and employment for the nation.

This will also correct the general impression that members of the group lack the technical know-how as well as the capacity to deliver on most job contracted to foreign companies.She added that there is an urgent need to develop strategies to get government to revamp or allow indigenous private sector companies to buy and reactivate current moribund paper mills in the country.


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Babatunde RuwaseLCCI
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