At NIPEX 2018, Nigeria printers condemn printing of election materials abroad

By Eniola Daniel
National President, Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Workers (NUPPPPROW), Comrade John Ushie, has called on the Federal Government to consider giving the jobs of printing election materials and other paper works to indigenous operators.
NIPEX 2018
    Ushie said this move will boast the Nigerian economy and reduce the rate of unemployment in the country. He made the call at the ongoing Nigeria International Print Expo at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos with the theme; Print Business: Innovation & Profitability.
   According to him, “Printing of ballot papers and other election materials outside Nigeria is totally condemnable. We condemn it in its entirety: there is no way we can have a country like Nigeria where we have capable hands but rather snub them and take the job of printing outside the country. We have the capacity, and that's why we are advocating that for those who are coming up must be empowered. The irony of it is that only small amount is taxed on materials printed outside the country and more taxes on printing materials imported into the country
  On innovations in the print industry, he said, “today, printing is easier. We could sit by our system,  process our work and send them for printing. Our major challenge in this part of the world is finance: we want this profession to move forward that is why we are meeting with all the stakeholders and we are happy that the Bank of Industry (BOI) has come in and with the effort of the organiser of this
exhibition we are sure that after this,  our printers will have the leverage to access fund to be able to buy new machines.
   The FG must see this as an opportunity because printing is a profession that guarantee enough employment for our youth so,  it's a profession the government must not look down on, it's a profession the government must take seriously to cut down the unemployment rate  in Nigeria.
    “Basically it's for us to see the new innovation in the market. printing everyday is a revolution and technology is changing everyday so, there is need for us to have this kind of exhibition, to have an opportunity to also see new equipment that are manufactured in print world. We can't continue to print using the old system:
   Lamenting state of government’s printing press, he said: "Government presses in states are no longer working because our leaders don't take interest in that area. Our leaders promise us 10,000 jobs in a year but you’ll find out that they are just making empty promises.  Printing is key area  where they could have leverage upon because printing will not only provide employment but generate revenue for the government. As a union,  we strongly recommend that the Federal government must look into how they can revive printing. This profession will outlived every other professions that's why government should not treat it with levity.
   On his part, the organiser of the Expo and Managing Direct/Chief Executive Officer of DCS Integrated Media Limited, Tunde Obokhai, said: “I came into printing industry in 1995 and discovered that there is a shortage of proper exposure to information that will influence good binding decision. People just bought machines without knowledge.
   “Ninety per cent of government jobs are taking abroad and the reason is because of wrong government policies: The printing industry is not growing because of the work we suppose to handle are taking abroad and printing presses are shutting down because they are not having enough business. Printing abroad is cheaper than printing in Nigeria because most of the consumables required to print are imported. Our printers pay duty for imported consumables while jobs printed abroad are brought in without duty so, that encourages jobs being taking overseas. But what we are saying is that the federal government should reverse that policy that anyone who prints abroad should pay higher duty and anyone that brings in consumables should not pay duty at all for certain number of years so that this industry will not die like the textile industry.”
   According to him, the value chain of printing is so enormous and the employment opportunity is very high.  Before the approval of the 2019 election budget, N35 billion was set aside for printing and we expect the job to be given to Nigerian printers. 
   On this year theme, he said, “From the various stages of printing, you can innovate.   Today, the long process to printing is no longer there, you can now send your job from the computer to the printer so, if you innovate by introducing those processes that make printing easy, definitely you will reduce cost.
   The Federal Government printer Mr. Itu Itu, said, “All the design on the ballot papers is done by Nigeria printers. So,  I believe we need to put a policy on ground and call on those involved using the available documents to back up that all printing jobs should be given to the Nigerian printing press. We are still talking to the FG that the job must not go outside.”

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