The Director-General of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, has urged the government, especially at the centre to give priority attention to the publishing industry just as it has been doing according to him with agricultural, oil and power sectors.
He gave the advice at the 2019 annual conference and general meeting of Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) held in Lagos, recently.
He was a keynote speaker at the event which has the Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr John Assien as chairman and the Onigege Ara of Iseyinland, Dr Wale Okediran; former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Mr Dare Oluwatuyi; President of Booksellers Association of Nigeria; Princess Layo Okeowo; Vice-chancellor, Westland University, Iwo, Osun State, Prof Andrew Okwilagwe and former President of Nigerian Library Association, Prof Umunna Opara, among others as panelists.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, “publishing in an import-dependent economy -The way forward, ’” the director-general who was represented at the event by the Director of Economics and Statistics, MAN, Dr Oluwasegun Oshidipe, said government over the years had not given priority attention to the book publishing and printing sector and that was why the sector is still crawling.
He said the government would need to develop a strategic plan with clearly defined activities, establish special development intervention fund, provide concessional forex exchange and tariffs for the industry.
“Government would also need to be patronising local publishing companies, fight piracy, support programmes that would enhance plantation of fibre trees and resuscitate national domestic refining and petrochemical industry that would provide the needed chemicals for the industry,” he added.
While re-emphasising that the publishing industry is not just a business-oriented industry but a crucial development catalyst for job and wealth creation for the country, Ajai-Kadir however, asked publishers to equally be innovative and embraced backward integration in sourcing materials used in printing locally so that they could compete favourably with their peers in the global market.
Earlier in his welcome address, the President of NPA, Mr Gbadega Adedapo, said the essence of the annual conference is for stakeholders in the book industry to appraise the entire industry viz- a- vis their operations with a view to providing solutions to their common challenges.
According to him, the book industry is a major contributor to knowledge and creative industry and also to the country’s economy but surprisingly the government is not considered the sector in that manner.
He said it was disturbing that the majority of the long-standing challenges facing the industry and suppressing it growth and development in the country remained with it even at this 21st century. .
He listed piracy, absence of effective legal framework, unfriendly government policies, poor electricity, high cost of production, high tariffs, lack of local contents, low or no government patronage and poor information and communication technology system as part of them, urging government to tackle them as a way of creating enabling environment that would help publishers and the economy to do well.