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Why $1.5m A/Ibom printing press yet to be utilised

Why $1.5m A/Ibom printing press yet to be utilised

The Akwa Ibom government has explained why its $1.5 million Rotary Press has yet to be utilised more than seven years after it was bought and installed.

The press was installed for the printing of the state-owned The Pioneer Newspaper and for other commercial ventures.

Commissioner for information and strategy, Ini Ememobong, who provided the explanation, said the press consists of a SupraSetter A105 otherwise known as Computer To Plate (CTP) machine and a Goss Community Press with a web offset press, said to have been acquired at a cost of $1.5 million then, with the capacity to print 17 colour pages, 32 black and white pages of newspaper and runs 500,000 impression per hour, while the CTP runs a resolution of 2,400 DPI.

Responding to a question on why the machine which was meant for the Akwa Ibom Newspaper Company (AKNC), publishers of the state-owned newspaper, was yet to roll, Ini Ememobong, said the state government was expecting proposals from private investors on the running of the printing press, promising that before the exit of the present administration, it would be taken over by an investor for proper management.

“When I came into the office, I visited the facility and commissioned an inquiry into issues surrounding the press

“We are working to reconcile all gray areas. In line with the Governor’s determination to continue to achieve results in a most cost-effective way, we had to open up the business to private investors who would come and manage the press.

“Many have indicated interest and we are still considering the options. I assure you that before the exit of this administration, the press will be taken over for proper management.”

Findings revealed that some national newspapers had already indicated interest to print their copies at the press, especially as it would enhance circulation and early arrival of the papers in the South-South region.

But the machines which were installed and commissioned on May 28, 2015, have not been put to use. It has since been lying fallow, while the complex housing the facilities have remained locked.

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Investigations show that the machines have not worked after the day it was commissioned by the Akpabio administration, even as the government has yet to officially hand over the press to the management of the AKNC.

A former general manager of the AKNC, Silas Udo, who was in office when the press was installed, said the machines were not used by The Pioneer to print any paper, nor, was any member of staff trained on how to operate the mac

According to him, the procedural process of receiving the machines was not done because the necessary checklist to ascertain what the state government paid for, and what was sent by the manufacturers was not done.

“The press was never used to print the Pioneer in my time. No member of staff under my watch went for training anywhere to master the workings of the rotary printing press.

“It would, therefore, have been against civil service procedure to sign a Stores Receipt Voucher (SRV). So unless this was done after I left service, the Press remained under the administration of the supervising ministry,” he stated.

Corroborating, Idorenyin Umoren, the production manager of AKNC then, said he was one of the committee members of AKNC Rotary Press Pre-shipment Inspection Committee announced by the state government to visit Goss Community Press Company in Germany.

Umoren, however, stated that the committee was not inaugurated, and the inspection to the Goss Community Press Company in Germany, Hieldelberg, never happened.

He said they were only informed that the machines had arrived in Uyo through Onne in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and they were expected to receive them, saying no production staff of AKNC was trained on how to operate the machines.