TANZANIA's fledgling publishing industry needs government protection and support to grow and become an important source of foreign exchange and job creation, a Dar es Salaam based publisher has advised.
Dr Charles Sokile of the Matokeo Publisher and Printers told the 'Daily News' over the weekend that the government should lower or waive altogether tax imposed on printing papers to cut down printing and publishing cost and impose tax to books printed abroad to encourage people publish their works in the country.
"The best way of curbing the norms is by taxing books that are printed overseas, to discourage exporting jobs abroad and revive our local industry," he said at the sideline of the launching of a new book by Dr Honest Ngowi of Mzumbe University.
Dr Sokile said Tanzania's publishing industry was one of the lowest in the world, publishing merely 400 books only per year. He said the industry also trailed that of Kenya and Uganda with little to offer in terms of revenue generation and job creation.
Dr Sokile said going by UNESCO ranking the industry is still at nascent level and denying the government revenue and job creation. According to him Tanzania is ranked the 98th in the world printing index. Kenya and Uganda are ranked the 87th and 90th respectively.
He said the publishing and printing industry in Tanzania was capable of undertaking any publishing order at relatively high quality. "Printing is a labour intensive industry. Thus by increasing the number of publishing houses the unemployment rate will go down tremendously," Dr Sokile said.
But, the reviving the publishing houses should go hand-with-hand with cultivating the culture of reading and the government to buy more books for universities.
"People are not reading enough...the environment is difficulty but we'll get there," Ambassador Juma Mwapachu said. He said the "government does not buy enough books for universities and schools," that way dwarfing the industry.