FG Moves to End N800bn Annual Paper Importation


James Emejo in Abuja

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, has said the federal government will resuscitate the Nigerian Paper Industry as part of its strategy for economic diversification.
He said the paper industry plays a critical role in any economy as demonstrated in all aspects of human endeavours, ranging from education, agriculture, banking, health sectors, among others.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Committee for the Resuscitation of the Nigerian Paper Industry, the minister noted that the industry serves as an indicator to growth and development of any economy in the world.

He added that a vibrant paper industry remains a key component of assessing the self-sufficiency status of any economy.

Adebayo, stressed that the paper industry was particularly critical to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as it, “represents one of the litmus tests of our resolve to correct some of the wrong which have been done to the Nigerian economy.”

Represented by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Mariam Katagum, Adebayo said the vision of government in setting three major mills industry namely the National Paper Manufacturing Company (NPMC); Nigeria Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC) and Nigeria Paper Mill (NPM) in the 70s and 80s was to build up platforms, taking advantage of the rich forest resources available in the country and to enhance local capacity to meet up with the country’s demand for paper and paper products.

He said: “It is on record that these Industries were functional and operational until they were privatised.”

The minister further noted that available record showed that though the industry contributed in meeting the paper products requirements in the country, recent findings revealed that virtually all the paper and paper products’ needs amounting to over N800 billion annually were imported, adding that this was unsustainable.

However, he said Buhari’s next level agenda was committed to reversing the ugly trend in the paper industry, adding that the newly inaugurated committee has a critical role to play by recommending innovative ideas towards the resuscitation of the industry.

“I charged you to leave no stone unturned in the course of your assignment as I give you my full support in the discharge of this national assignment without fear or favour,” Adebayo urged the committee.