A call has gone to the Federal Government to save the educational books publishing industry by stemming the tide of piracy and revive the moribund paper mills in the country.
The Managing Director, Learn Africa Plc, Alhaji Bala Hassan, made this call on Wednesday at Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, shortly after the opening activities of the company’s 2017 annual sales conference.
He said if these two areas were squarely addressed by the government, it would reduce the challenges being faced in the industry.
He said, “In order to make educational books publishing to survive, the Federal Government must assist in its policy-making.
“The Nigeria Copyright Council must be strengthened to stem the tide of piracy, where fraudulent people will reproduce books without authorisation. There should be stringent legislation to discourage such people.
“Again, the cost of paper for production has increased by over 200 per cent.
“So, we are calling on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, revive major paper mills such as Iwopin, Jebba and Oku-Iboku paper mills.
“The current economic recession in the country has worsened the situation. A tonne of paper that cost N200, 000 in 2015 now costs N570, 000.”
Hassan noted that though a majority of the people have moved to e-books, production of hard books needed to survive for the use of pupils of primary and secondary schools.
Earlier in his remark, the chairman of the company, Chief Emeka Iwerebon, urged state and federal governments to increase their patronage of what he described as ‘bulk purchase’ of educational books, particularly states offering free education policies.
He lamented that despite the fact that Nigeria had over two million pupils in public schools; the company recorded less than 20 per cent sales in 2016.
He said, ‘As a company, we should be selling about five to eight million copies of books in a year, but right now we only have a tiny fraction of that.”