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Operators seek patronage of locally-made products

By Helen Oji
27 September 2021   |   3:58 am
Operators in the printing sector have stressed the need for the government and its agencies to increase patronage of locally-made products and remove tariffs on raw materials.

Operators in the printing sector have stressed the need for the government and its agencies to increase patronage of locally-made products and remove tariffs on raw materials.

Managing Director of Academy Press Plc, Olugbenga Ladipo, regretted that the huge tariff imposed on local producers, while importers of finished goods are not tasked with any obligation.

According to him, with the persistent dollar surge, coupled with the devastating effect of the COVID-19 crisis, there is a need for the government to support the industry by imposing tariffs on imported goods and eliminating charges on raw materials to grow indigenous firms.

Ladipo, who spoke in an interview with The Guardian at the 57th virtual yearly general meeting of Academy Press held in Lagos at the weekend, said: “There are challenges in the industry that we feel could be managed better but these are things that are essentially out of the control of players in the industry.

“Why are Nigerians going to do printing jobs abroad, even if everybody has a right to go anywhere and print? The policymakers can make it difficult for people to patronise importers to grow the local industries.

“There are agencies of government that are spending a lot of money on printing, especially UBEC and INEC apart from corporate organisations that also do things on their own. These agencies are supposed to be mandated by the government to patronise local industries.”

He added: “Every industry that is up and doing well will not depend on importation so the government must look at the policies surrounding business and do the right thing.”

Academy Press Chairman, Wahab Dabiri, urged the government to address some of the issues that are adversely affecting the progress of the industry.

He said the industry is in dire need of a new policy direction that will facilitate the establishment of local paper mills and the production of relevant printing materials.

In addition, he said streamlining importation and port activities as well as provision of adequate forex for the industry will boost local production.

Reviewing its performance, Dabiri said the company’s loss before tax increased from N54 million in the previous year to N304 million in 2020.

According to him, the company’s operations suffered substantially due to the shut-down of relevant sectors that rendered services to the industry.

He said delivery orders were suspended, cancelled or postponed within the period, which was contrary to expectations and norms in year-end.