Lagos — Nigeria loses over N30 billion annually due to massive importation of newsprint from overseas, President of the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON), Alhaji Muhammed Wahab Lawal, said.
He told our correspondent yesterday that the development is a huge drain on the economy and a sad commentary on the nation's printing industry.
He said the nation would have saved the over N30 billion to resuscitate its moribund paper mills and create more jobs for Nigerians.
According to him, the three paper mills in the country; Oku Iboku Papermill, Iwopin Papermill and Jebba Papermill closed shops 15 years ago due to the ulterior motives of some foreigners to ensure that the country perpetually relied on importation of paper.
Specifically, he fingered the Indians as being the brain behind the death of the papermills in the country.
Alhaji Muhammed Wahab Lawal said: "The Indians are the ones doing the bulk of importation of paper into the country.They felt if they should allow papermills here to grow, their business will not thrive."
Besides, Lawal said government's attitude to the papermill industries paved way for their sudden death.
According to him, the running of these mills was based on political consideration rather than credibility, competence and professionalism.
"When you appoint somebody who doesn't have cognate experience in printing or paper mill to man these mills, what you will get is mismanagement and run down of its operation like we are currently experiencing".
Lawal said it is not too late for the government to retrace its step and breathe life into the moribund paper mills.
He said the government can do this by fashioning out policy that would create the enabling environment for the mills to grow.
He also promised that CIPPON would assist the government in this drive by creating the requisite advocacy as well as ensuring that they complied with the Printing Act.