Stakeholders in the printing industry on Wednesday in Abuja said poor patronage and lack of support from government had contributed to low growth of the industry in the country.
The stakeholders spoke at the 2019 Nigeria International Print Expo with the theme “New Frontiers in Print Business in Nigeria”.
They called for an enforcement of the Federal Governments Executive Order (EO) five to drive the growth of the industry.
Mr Tunde Obokhai, Managing Director DCS Integrated Media Limited, said the aim of the show was to bring to the front burner opportunities inherent in the printing industry.
The opportunities, he said was currently suffering due to lack of government support.
He called on government to impose tariff on printed jobs from abroad, adding that the industry had the capacity to employ a large percentage of Nigerians.
“The printing industry is suffering from lack of capacity and lack of patronage by even the government.
“It is a business that can employ a lot of people but policies have been skewed to encourage printing abroad.
“That is why it is cheaper to print abroad. People print government jobs abroad and it has negative impact on the economy,” he said
He added that the industry needed support and urged government to stop printing things like ballot papers abroad.
“We should enforce the printing policies to grow the industry,” he noted.
In his remarks, President, Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON), Mr Gbemi Malomo, said unscrupulous elements in government deny the local printers job.
He added that if the industry had all the required support, it had the potential of reducing the unemployment rate in the country.
He said there was urgent need for the government to enforcement the EO five and explore ways of promoting the printing industry for job creation.
“The legislation is there and what we need now is enforcement, The Executive Order five says jobs should be printed locally but that is not done.
“The major problem in this country is unemployment. We go treating symptoms rather than the root cause of the problem.
“There is need for us to give Nigerians jobs to do; those contracts taking abroad should be done locally,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information, Mrs Grace Gekpe, said the Government would address the identified challenges facing the printing industry.
She said that the paper mill industry and the ink policies if implemented would go a long way in improving the industry.
“We have the woods that can make the print industry cheap and so it is a shame that we are still importing printing materials,”
Gekpe added that there was the need to build capacity of the printers and imbibe good maintenance culture.
Also, in his paper presentation, Dr Rotimi Oladele emphasised the need to stop importation of prints and grow capacity locally.
Oladele who scored the tertiary institutions zero in terms of printing education called on Universities to include printing in their curriculum.