Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) has lamented the loss of about N2 trillion to the patronage of their foreign counterparts by both private entities and all tiers of governments in Nigeria.
Speaking during its third Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Abuja and the launch of “Nigerian Jobs Remain in Nigeria,” campaign, recently, President of the organisation and Chairman in Council, Mr. Olugbemi Malomo, urged the federal government to initiate policies that will lead to patronage of local professionals and creation of job opportunities.
Malomo noted that members of the CIPPON, which was established by act 24, 2007, have the capacity to make the country the hub of printing in Africa with the right policies, but said that more than 80 per cent of books used in Nigeria are printed outside the country.
“Today, we have four important sectors in printing which can contribute significantly to GDP. One is the printing of books. We have about 160 million Nigerians in one school or the other. In a year, there are three terms and that requires over 160 million books to be printed and when you multiply that by 10, that’s about 160 billion books to be printed.
“That is enough for our industry if done locally. Unfortunately, more than half or close to 80 per cent of those books, particularly from government are being printed outside Nigeria.
“We want to call on government and launch a campaign on how to keep Nigerian jobs in Nigeria because if we are going to solve our economic problems, we must start with ourselves. Recently, the federal government issued Executive Order Number 5 that says anything that can be produced in Nigeria should be done here.
“Why is it that we still take books to print outside Nigeria? Conservatively, if we are talking about 1.6 billion books and the cost of one book is just N100, which is pretty much low, we are talking about close to N2 trillion and that’s on books alone,” he lamented.
He further said even the paper that’s used for the job is not even manufactured in Nigeria, revealing that the printing paper industry alone is worth about N3 trillion industry.
He added: “Ghana has decided to set up a paper mill. Our own are moribund. We are targeting our large population. If our paper mills are revived, it will create massive employment and it’s not rocket science. We need the right policies. We need policies for an industry employing more than 10 million Nigerians.
“We need to address even the inconsistency in government policy. If I bring in paper, I pay 25 per cent. If I print the books outside and bring them in as educational materials , I will pay zero per cent duty. So, we can’t even compete as a result of policy. This has to be addressed.
“Before Covid-19, we were like a ship that was sinking and it’s even worse now. We need to patronise our own. If people don’t get employed, we will continue to face security challenges because the money for education, you will spend on security.”
On his part, Secretary of the body, Mr. Akin Oduwole, stated that printing remains a dynamic job, adding that its viability will affect other sectors.
“It cuts across other professions. Airlines use the inflight magazines and several others, even fabrics are printed,” he said.