Recent fiscal and monetary policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), especially, the foreign exchange policy, are having a devastating effect on the country’s publishing companies, the Managing Director Evans Brothers (Nigeria Publishers) Limited, Mr Lukman Dauda, has said.
Dauda, speaking on Wednesday, at an event to herald the Golden Jubilee anniversary of the publishing firm, also noted increased costs of production brought about by the liberalisation of foreign exchange policy, poor electricity supply, decrepit infrastructure and piracy as the bane of the sustenance of the printing industry.
Noting that publishing firms in the nation were compelled to patronise foreign printers owing to inadequate production capacity of local printers, Dauda prayed that government help the survival of the printing industry with tax reliefs, new duty regime on imported printing items.
He noted that publishers largely survived on huge patronage of books by government through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to cushion the deficit in the open market.
“Recently, the monetary policies of the country have dealt a serious blow on our operations. The production capacity in the country cannot meet the requirements of all publishing companies hence we patronise foreign printers.”
“We patronise foreign printers for so many advantages. In the last one year, paying for such services have become a serious challenge because of the foreign exchange policy of the CBN It has been worsened when the foreign exchange policy was liberalised and the official exchange rate was tampered with and is to be dictated by the forces of demand and supply.”
“Before June, the official exchange rate was N197, but after the liberalisation, the official exchange rate has hovered between N300 and N308, that is an increase of more than 50 per cent. We have been faced with the challenge of integrity before our foreign customers. We take delivery of goods but we cannot pay back as initially agreed.
“It is our hope government will come up with a more friendly policy on foreign exchange especially to the services and manufacturing industry,” he said.
“It is not that we are just interested in patronising foreign printers. Almost all materials needed in the printing industry are imported. The government should help the printing industry with tax reliefs, a new policy on duty regime for those items, for them to be more affordable,” Dauda prayed.
In being up to speed with technological advancements, Dauda noted that Evans publishers, among other publishers, had created platforms for access to electronic version of its books, but asserted that technology would only complement, but not replace hard copies of books.