• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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OGUNCCIMA decries rising cost of paper as imports gulp N1.5trn

OGUNCCIMA decries rising cost of paper as imports gulp N1.5trn

Ogun State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA), a body of business owners operating in Ogun State, has decried the rising foreign exchange being spent to import pulp, paper and its allied products to Nigeria.

OGUNCCIMA said “it’s a shame for a country like Nigeria with abundance of raw materials for pulp and paper production to still engage in imports of paper and its allied products thereby putting unnecessary pressure on naira, the local currency.”

Recall that the National Bureau of Statistics’ data relased on imports of paper and its allied products in 2022 when a dollar was exchanged for N424, stood at N412 billion but with more than a tripled value of dollar to naira, Nigeria now spends close to N1.5 trillion to import only paper and its allied products to the Country on an annual basis.

Speaking at a press conference heralding 13th Ogun State Gateway International Trade Fair held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital, Mike Akingbade, President OGUNCCIMA noted that all the Chambers in Ogun State had mobilised its members to begin massive trees planting in partnership with the State Government in order to fasten action on the resuscitation of pulp and paper mills in the Country.

While explaining that OGUNCCIMA’s mission is to let government at all levels see reasons for resuscitation of moribund paper mills in Iwopin, Ogun State; Jebba in Kwara State and Oku-Iboku in Akwa Ibom State, Akingbade declared that the resuscitation and expansion of paper mills industry would start from Ogun State with the massive trees planting.

He emphasised that Nigerian economy would rebound with massive investment in agriculture and manufacturing activities, asking business owners, investors and farmers to ensure that Nigerian economy is switched from being the net importer of goods and service to productive exports economy, thereby earning more foreign exchange.

“We are already promoting trees planting. Pulp and paper, in a matter of three years, will begin to yield good harvests for us. There must be a concerted effort among us – the government, farmers and investors to resuscitate and expand our paper mills industry to save Nigeria lots of foreign exchange being spent to import.

“We also have cashew production with foreign partners. There are also cotton and cocoa plantations which our members are doing at present. We are not only planting, we are adding value, this is what the Trade Fair will expose and government will see areas where they need to help us and invest in”, he said.

Responding on behalf of the State Government, Adebola Sofela, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, pledged to support all efforts geared towards economic growth and development in the State and in the Country at large, saying robust policies and programmes of Ogun State Government on agriculture and industrialization would soon begin to manifest.

Sofela, who was represented by Oluyemisi Somorin-Dawodu, Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Trade and Investment, said that the 2024 Gateway Trade Fair would be different from all other years as government would take note of issues and challenges being faced by the investors, business owners and farmers on the State, considering the way out.

He noted that more manufacturing companies, business owners and farmers would feature in this year Trade Fair, saying “we have intensified efforts this year, we are collaborating with more companies and business owners and quite a number of them will be on ground between 19th and 29th April, 2024.”