In the bid to address the incessant increase in the price of paper in Nigeria, operators in the industry have agreed to set up a price modulating committee.
The committee is to determine and regulate the price of paper on a monthly basis.
According to the group which includes the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria and Paper Importers Association (PIA), the decision was necessitated by the daily increase in the cost of papers which has risen above 300 per cent in recent times and has caused a lot of damages to the printing industry.
They reached the decision unanimously at an emergency fact-finding meeting of stakeholders in the printing industry in Lagos, where stakeholders expressed frustrations on how they have lost businesses and income as a result of unstable price of paper.
The President of Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria, Mr. Olugbemi Malomo, described the scenario as a threat to national security, noting that the cost of papers was leading to increase in unemployment.
“It is also depriving our young ones of education as most parents will not be able to afford books when school resumes next session,” he stated.
According to CIPPON, “we have had to return legal purchase orders to clients as they could no longer afford the paper, which constitutes about seventy per cent of their materials.
“The consequence of this for the printers is that more printers are closing shops, selling off their machines, and laying off their staff.”
Meanwhile, PIA has highlighted the plight of the printers, stating that the banking crisis, devaluation of naira, port congestion and increase in the cost of paper from manufacturers were factors responsible for the increase in the cost of papers.
The Association’s Chairman, Mr. Bayo Abdul said: “Paper importers have been compelled to source foreign exchange from black market because it has been tough to get from the central bank of Nigeria at the official rate.
“Knowing the importance of paper in our lives and economy, the federal government should have given paper importers special access to forex to reduce the cost of paper,” he added.
Present at the meeting included the Director, Printing and Paper Group, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Layo Okeowo and Deputy Director, Paper, Pulp, Wood and Industrial Development, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Olumuyiwa Ade-Ajayi.
At the end, stakeholders agreed to set up a Price Modulating Committee with terms of reference to consider every cost associated with paper importation, add an agreeable margin and release a price that would be consistent for an agreed period.
The stakeholders also agreed to hold a paper summit through which all issues relating to paper will be discussed and ideas generated at the summit would be passed to the government for effective policies on paper.