The Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) has called for urgent revitalisation of local paper production to reduce its importation into the country and save the publishing industry from collapse.
NPA vice-president Lukman Dauda said this in an interview in Ibadan on Tuesday.
Mr Dauda, the managing director of Evans Brothers (Nigeria Publishers) Limited, Ibadan, decried the absence of a functional paper mill.
“Now that we don’t have anything like that for some time now, it has been an issue, not only for those in the publishing industry alone but everyone who has something to do with paper,” stressed Mr Dauda.
According to him, publishers and those in the publishing industry are at the mercy of paper merchants monopolising the market, with a strong association controlling what happens in the paper market.
“They determine what people pay for their paper since they know there is no alternative, especially at the local level. This is really affecting so many things,” said Evans boss. “Some of us have resorted to going outside to print, as people have realised that printing outside the country is more profitable than doing so locally, notwithstanding the forex challenges.”
He added, “Staying here (in the country) would have run almost all of us out of business, especially in the printing of educational books.”
The NPA vice-president further stated that the industry’s challenges would be the major focus at the association’s conference and annual general meeting, scheduled for December 7 and 8 in Lagos.
He noted that the forum would have various stakeholders discussing the conference theme: ‘Revitalising Local Production of Paper in Nigeria: Panacea for a Sustainable Publishing Industry’.
Mr Dauda said the industry had been trying to get the government’s attention to address some critical issues, particularly policies and subvention. He said NPA had been calling for interventions from the government to make paper mills functional, improve the economy and provide jobs for Nigerians.
Mr Dauda also underscored the importance of the publishing industry in improving the standard and quality of education and promoting the reading culture.