Publishers decry poor business environment
Stakeholders in the publishing sector have decried the operating environment, describing it as unfriendly to business.
They said the environment posed a lot of risk to the sector and increased the rate of piracy.
Already, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has stated that consumers’ preference for cheap goods was the major incentive to piracy.
However, stakeholders said if Nigeria would succeed in its efforts at diversifying the economy, priority must be placed on the development of the creative industries and protection of copyright works against the onslaught of piracy.
Speaking with The Guardian, Chairman, Shareholders Association, Ibadan Zone, Eric Akinduro, said the government should create an environment for companies that are publishing in Nigeria.
Akinduro said when publishers are able to work in an environment at a cheaper cost, it reduces piracy, “because when you look at some of these pirated books, they are not published in Nigeria, they are published elsewhere and imported into the country.”
He said the government should look at cost of operations in the country to make the work of the publishers competitive and available for Nigerians to patronise.
Akinduro said the government should create an enabling environment like power, good roads for companies to achieve a return on investments.
The governor, Focus Shareholder’s Circle, Yekini Adisa, said the need for government to rise up against piracy in the country was essential to allow in-house industries to thrive well.
Adisa said piracy had chased lots of investors out of business in the sector.
He said the government should wake up and safeguard publishers from the menace.
Also speaking Chairman, University Press Plc, Dr. Lalekan Are, said the publishing sector was facing quite a number of challenges.
Are, who spoke at the 41st yearly general meeting of the company, in Ibadan, described the prevalent economy in the country as unconducive for business generally, as well as the publishing sector.
He said: “Nigeria has been rated by the World Culture Score Index as one of the countries with the lowest reading culture. The poor reading culture of the Nigerian citizenry has suffered from widespread poverty, corruption, ineptitude and a dearth of dedicated quiet reading places like libraries.”
“The Nigerian Copyright Commission says the country has been losing $3 billion (N988 trillion) yearly to the activities of pirates. Piracy lies at the heart of the challenge facing the publishing sector,” he added.
Besides, the company proposed a dividend of 15k per 50k ordinary share owned by shareholders for the 2018 financial year, which translates to a cash outlay of N64.7 million.
Are said the dividend proposed was in view of the company’s performance in the year under review.
He said the company had recorded a 47 per cent decline in its profit after tax, which dropped to N109 million from N207.4 million in 2017, despite the 29 per cent increase in revenue recorded.
The company’s shareholders’ fund stood at N2.61 billion as of March 31, 2019, while its total capital expenditure was N180 million.
Are stated that the capital expenditure amount was invested in-field operation vehicles, office and computer equipment for the enhancement of the company’s operations.
He revealed that the decline in PAT was due to the higher cost of doing business and specific expenses meant to have a long-term positive impact on the company’s performance.