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Printers decry foreign monopoly of industry

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By Gboyega Alaka

THE Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) has lamented that foreign printers are monopolising the market, making it impossible for Nigerians to import paper.

The President and Chairman-in-Council of the Institute, Mr. Olugbemi Malomo, said the ease of doing business has allowed foreigners to come unhindered to retail, thereby denying the industry the opportunity to build capacity.

Olugbemi spoke at the second edition of the institute’s yearly National Conferences in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital with the theme:  ”Using regulation to revive the ailing printing industry”.

Olugbemi also regretted that the obvious distortion in the equilibrium of the printing related economy of the nation has resulted in the current predicament of the “ailing” industry.

He said the printing of educational and election materials outside Nigeria is detrimental of to the local economy.

This, he said, is not due to lack of capacity of the Nigerian printers but “because people are taking advantage of outdated government policy.”

He noted that a national policy would solve significant portion of the current challenges facing the industry.

According to him, Nigeria prints over 1.2 billion books yearly and a significant part of them is printed outside Nigeria.

His words: “There is an obvious distortion in the equilibrium of the printing related economy of the nation resulting in the current predicament of our ailing industry.’’

Olugbemi, who raised the alarm over hike in the cost of paper, disclosed that over three trillion naira worth is imported into the country yearly, constituting a strain on the country’s foreign exchange.

He warned further that the dependent on imported materials for elections may jeopardise the process if there is a new wave of pandemic that makes importation difficult.

The guest speaker, former president of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Rotimi Oladele in his keynote address, charged the Federal Government to rescue the industry from imminent collapse caused by the incursion of foreigners into the industry. He stressed the need for the protection of practitioners from foreigners who he said has almost hijacked the industry from the real practitioners.

According to him, “the printing industry is capable of generating billions of naira for the country as revenue, but unfortunately, the industry is not well coordinated.

“Both the government and the institute need to work together in order to fully tap into the multi billion naira potentials in the industry.”

He added that it is also a veritable ground for providing millions of jobs for Nigeria’s teeming youths.

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