Printers task FG on dismantling bottlenecks against paper importation
Worried about untapped opportunities in the printing industry valued at over $3 billion, the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) has called on the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments to cushion the rising cost of paper by dismantling prevailing bottlenecks in the importation.
It lamented that import dependence on paper and pulp was impacting negatively the printing industry.
Touted as the second largest employer of labour with over 10 million Nigerians, the industry decried Nigeria’s importation of estimated 3.0 million metric tonnes of paper and pulp.
CIPPON President, Olugbemi Malomo, urged the Federal Government to assist the industry by allocating foreign exchange and regulating imports to achieve standardisation.
He pledged the readiness of his institute to drive local production of paper and pulp, as well as reinforce capacity building for indigenous printers.
Malomo noted said the body’s Nigerian International Pulp and Paper Summit, held from October 17 to 19 in Abuja, would advise the government on how to achieve an enabling environment for investment in paper products and backward integration.
Titled ‘Bridging The Gap In Local Pulp And Paper Production in Nigeria,’ the CIPPON boss explained that the gathering would proffer solutions to challenges of the value chain.
“We want to create a roadmap for local production of paper in the short, medium and long-term run, which will bring down the cost of paper, free up the foreign exchange and generate employment,” he added.
Malomo attributed the lack of local production to the rising cost of newspapers, observing: “Newspaper is just one. Imagine exercise books and other things we use paper for. So, if we produce paper locally, newspaper prices would come down.”
He, however, voted against reviving the paper mills in the country, saying it would amount to nothing in getting the desired result for the industry.
“Talking about the paper mills is a distraction. Even if they work in full capacity, they cannot solve our problems,” the chief printer stated.
He canvassed a national policy that encourages local production and exportation of books to other African countries.
On his part, the vice chairman of the association, Tunde Obokhai, said the policy expected from the summit would also provide thousands of jobs for unemployed youths.