Operators in the printing industry have bemoaned the devaluation of the naira and its effects on the industry, as well as the rising cost of electricity. They have called on the government to impose higher tariffs on imported goods to promote domestic manufacture.
Olugbenga Ladipo, the managing director of Academic Press PLC, claimed in an interview with The Guardian during the company’s 58th annual general meeting held over the weekend in Lagos that the business is being strangled by rising administrative and manufacturing costs. He claimed that among other things, most businesses struggle with rising material costs.
“We are having a challenge with operations. Two major issues are relevant; the energy has become very disruptive now because the public power is not there and the in-house power, which is run by a generator, is very expensive. Diesel price has gone up four times within a short period. You can imagine the effect of that on our operation.
“The second is the effect of foreign exchange shortage. It is not even available and when you can get it, it is very high. It is impacting on our cost of raw material because there is hardly any material that you use in Nigeria that does not import dependent,” he said.
According to Ladipo, the sector desperately needs a new policy direction to encourage the building of regional paper mills and the creation of pertinent printing supplies.
“More important, we should be able to channel our efforts into local production because when you do not produce, you are import dependent. We must begin to produce things we import, this is the area that government needs to focus on,” he said.
The nation’s financial capability is suffering, which is having a multiplier effect on the company’s different diversification projects, said the meeting’s chairman, Wahab Dabiri, as he reviewed the company’s performance.
He claimed that the company’s light packaging effort has failed to perform to expectations. However, he emphasized that significant advancements have been made in other backward integration initiatives regarding the availability of paper and materials, as well as in the areas of process digitization.
A total dividend of N60.48 million, totaling 10 kobo per share, and a bonus of one share for every four shares owned by investors were also approved by the company’s shareholders during the meeting.