• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Poor patronage, limited funding flagged as constraints to printing industry

Poor patronage, limited funding flagged as constraints to printing industry

The potential of Nigeria’s printing industry as a lucrative and profitable sector is being undermined by poor patronage locally, rising production costs and the import dependent situation of the sector among other issues. As a result, these limit the significant impact and contribution the industry could be making to grow the economy.

This was highlighted by stakeholders at the Nigeria International Print Expo (NIPEX) 2022, which is West Africa’s largest gathering of companies and professionals in the graphics, prints, and signs industry held in Lagos with the theme ‘Making print profitable again in Nigeria’.

The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to voice out complaints to the government, network with other firms locally and globally, and to learn new trends in the industry. Most importantly proffer solutions on the way forward.

Tunde Obokhai, chief executive officer, DCS Integrated Media, organizers of NIPEX said the industry is largely import dependent as 90 percent of the products being used are sourced abroad such as paper, technology, ink, etc.

“This is worsened by the current exchange rate and has made it difficult for businesses to bring in products easily, furthermore paper mills in Nigeria are moribund and paper is an essential part of production,” he said.

He urged that the government prioritize resuscitating those moribund paper mills or support the establishment of new paper mills in Nigeria, which will tremendously reduce dependence on importation for production activities.

Obokhai highlighted the problem of epileptic power supply and the need to rely heavily on alternative sources of electricity which are self-generated and costs so much, chipping in that demand for services and products is also low especially as the government will rather source their printing jobs to international companies.

“Government still creates jobs abroad by outsourcing these things and that causes capital flight as a result even when businesses in the industry have made investments, returns do not come in as they should,” he said.

He said as the 2023 general election approaches, it provides an opportunity for the government to revitalize the sector through increased patronage, noting that ballot papers can be effectively and efficiently printed by companies in Nigeria.

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Folorunso Alakija, vice-chairman of Digital reality Print Limited, a foremost printing, and corporate support services provider in her address said Nigeria’s printing is one of the oldest and profitable industries in the country which has exhibited so much potential but is undermined by challenges.

“The industry is also a large employer of labor but keeps facing many challenges especially as the cost of production continues to increase significantly,” she said.

Alakija through her pre-recorded message noted that the sector is capital intensive and businesses cannot survive on their own hence they need the intervention of the government to alleviate struggles by providing necessary infrastructure and basic incentives to function.

Niyi Adebayo, Nigeria’s minister of industry, trade, and investment, said the printing and plastic industry in Nigeria has great potential for job creation, wealth creation, poverty alleviation, and revenue generation, as such, the ministry is eager to show support through actions such as the development of sector specific policy.

“One of the challenges is the moribund paper industry, Nigeria spends hundreds of millions importing materials in the industry which constitutes a huge drain, and this is a trend which the ministry is committed to reversing through the formulation of the national policy for the sector,” he said.

Adebayo who was represented by Abosede Ogunmuyiwa, an official at the FMITI said the ministry is open to suggestions, advice and contributions that will fast track the development of the entire value chain in the industry.