A professor in the Department of Forest Production and Products, University of Ibadan, Prof. Oluwafemi Oluwadare, has said about N1tn is taken out of Nigeria to develop the capacity of the paper, print and graphics industry of other nations to the detriment of the local industry.
He also stated that the existing one million jobs in Nigeria’s paper and printing industry could be tripled if the industry could be made to work again.
Oluwadare said this while delivering a goodwill message at the inauguration of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Paper, Publishing and Allied Products Group.
He said the Chartered Institute of Paper Products of Nigeria had observed that 12 million metric tonnes of paper products were imported into the country annually.
He said, “In a broad spectrum of economic and financial expenditure, N1tn is taken out of Nigerian economy to develop the capacity of the paper, print and graphics industry of other nations to the detriment of the local industry.
“Furthermore, a manufacturing industry like the PPAP sector that employs over one million people has not benefitted from the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan of the Federal Government.”
He, therefore, challenged the LCCI to work towards finding a solution to the challenge of sourcing local raw materials in the sector.
“I strongly believe that this is achievable once the national interest is topmost in our hearts. The one million jobs in this sector can triple if the paper industry can be made to work again,” he said.
In her address, the Chairperson of the LCCI PPAP Group, Princess Layo Okeowo, lamented that the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government who were the biggest spenders in the economy were not patronising local printing firms.
Okeowo, who is also the managing director, FAE Limited, stated that most of the job opportunities that should have been provided for local printers and publishers were taken overseas.
She said, “It is on record that this group has not been enjoying the deserved patronage from the various government MDAs, despite being the highest spenders in the economy.
“Besides, most of the job opportunities, which should have been provided for local printers and publishers, are taken overseas.
“There are several other issues like the exchange rate, national policy on printing industry and the moribund paper mills.”