Stakeholders Lament 300% Rise in Cost of Printing Papers

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Oluchi Chibuzor

Stakeholders in the printing industry yesterday lamented that the prices of printing papers had risen by 300% in the last one year, thereby causing much damage to the industry.

Consequently, the stakeholders agreed to set up a price modulating committee with the mandate to determine and regulate the prices of printings papers on a monthly basis.

President of Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON), Mr. Olugbemi Malomo and Chairman of Paper Importers Association (PIA), Mr. Bayo Abdul revealed this plan at an emergency fact finding stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos.

Among others, Director, Printing and Paper Group, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Princess Layo Okeowo and Deputy Director, Paper, Pulp, Wood and Industrial Development, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Olumuyiwa Ade-Ajayi were part of the stakeholders’ meeting.

At the meeting, stakeholders in the industry had expressed their frustrations on how they had lost businesses, incomes and investments due to unstable prices of printing papers nationwide.

Malomo told journalists that the decision was necessitated by the daily increase in the cost of papers, which has risen above 300% in recent times and had caused a lot of damages to the printing industry.

Speaking on uncertainties that cloud the industry, Malomo described it as a threat to national security, saying the cost of papers was leading to increase in unemployment.

CIPPON’s president said: “It is also depriving our young ones of education as most parents will not be able to afford books when school resumes next session,” he stated.

“We have had to return legal purchase orders to clients as they could no longer afford the paper, which constitutes about 70% of their materials. As a result, more printers are closing shops, selling off their machines, and laying off their staff.”

Also at the meeting, Abdul, PIA’s chairman, highlighted the plight of the printers, stating that banking crisis, devaluation of naira, port congestion and increase in the cost of paper from manufacturers as the factors responsible for the increase in the cost of papers.

Abdul said the cost of foreign exchange was being reviewed upward on every bidding day and the implication of this was what the printers and Nigerians were experiencing.
He said paper importers “have been compelled to source foreign exchange from black market because it has been tough to get from the Central Bank of Nigeria at the official rate.
“Knowing the importance of paper in our lives and economy, the federal government should have given paper importers special access to the foreign exchange to reduce the cost of paper.”

In a resolution after the meeting, the stakeholders agreed to set up a Price Modulating Committee with the term of reference to consider every cost associated with paper importation, add an agreeable margin and release a price that would be consistent for an agreed period.

They also agreed to hold a paper summit through which all issues relating to paper will be discussed and ideas generated at the summit would be passed to the government for effective policies on paper.