The Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) has challenged the Federal Government to review its importation policies, stressing that Nigeria loses over N30 billion annually due to massive importation of newsprint from overseas.
CIPPON was created by Act of Parliament No. 24 of 2007, and is charged with the duty of regulating, controlling, managing and administration of printers in Nigeria, and for related purposes.
Its President, Alhaji Muhammed Wahab Lawal, while briefing newsmen on Thursday on the challenges facing printers in the country, also called on the government to ensure that an enabling environment is created for both local and international printers.
He added that current spate of massive newsprints importation to the country is a large drain on the economy and a sad commentary on the nation’s printing industry.
“We call on the Federal Government to review its importation policies because Nigeria loses over N30billion annually due to massive import of newsprint from overseas. The nation would have saved the over N30 billion to resuscitate its moribund paper mills and create more jobs for Nigerians,” he said.
According to him, the three paper mills in the country; namely Okuboku papermill, Iwopin papermill and Jebba papermill, closed shops 15years ago due to the ulterior motive of some foreigners to ensure that the country perpetually rely on importation of paper.
Specifically, the CIPPON’s President fingered Indians as being the brain behind the death of the papermills in the country.
He said, “The Indians are the ones doing the bulk of importation of paper into the country. They felt if they should allow paper mills here to grow, their business will not thrive. Government’s attitude to the paper mill industries paved way for their sudden death and current crisis the industry is facing today”.
According to him, the running of these mills was based on political consideration rather than credibility, competence and professionalism.
“When you appoint somebody who doesn’t have cognate experience in printing or paper mill to man these mills, what you will get is mismanagement and run down of its operation like we are currently experiencing.
“It is not too late for the government to retrace its step and breathe life into the moribund paper mills because government can do this by fashioning out policy that would create the enabling environment for the mills to grow”, he added.
He promised that CIPPON would assist the government in this drive by creating the requisite advocacy as well as ensuring that they comply with Printing Act.