MAURICE OKAFOR writes that amidst the present hard times in the nation’s socio economic circle which has compelled many industries to close down production, the Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) has reiterated commitment to remain in business, striving to meeting up with global standard.
The Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) gave this assurance at it’s 55th annual conference and general meeting held p Thursday, December 3rd to Friday December 4th, in Enugu, with theme, “Re-Strategizing to strengthen the Nigerian Publishing Industry to meet future challenges”.
The new President of the association, Hon Uchenna Cyril Anioke promised that his leadership will devise initiatives in breaking barriers confronting the association while consolidating on the achievements of his predecessor.
Hon Anioke lamented that the prevailing economic hard times in Nigeria is very unfavourable to the Publishing industry and said the association will make efforts to source funds from ‘TETFUND’ and will also partner with international organisations, on how to remedy the various problems militating the publishing Industry in Nigeria.
He lamented that products from publishing Industry in all ramifications are utilised by all sectors of the economy ,yet proprietors(Publishers) go through a lot of rigours to sustain the Industry.
Speaking earlier, the chairperson of the NPA 55th annual conference and General meeting, Prof.Mrs Joy Ezeilo, the immediate former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC), lamented declining reading culture in Nigeria ,stating that in as much as the publishers are not making returns for their huge investment, it has adversely affected the end product of the nation’s educational system.
Prof. Ezeilo urged Nigerian publishers to tap into modern e-publishing because according to her there are now advent of technological innovations like audio reading and e-books/e-learning.
“These days when you attend international conferences you see your counterparts from the western countries asking for soft or electronic copies, but Africans will be struggling for hard copies which they end up dumping at the airports when they are charged for excess luggage,” she said.
She expressed confidence in the theme of the conference tagged, “Re-strategizing to Strengthen the Nigerian Publishing Industry to meet Future Challenges,” of being capable to provide solutions to the challenges facing the publishing industry in the country.
Prof. Bankole Sodipo, a professor of law at the Babcock University, in his keynote address said the advent of e-books, electronic publishing and digital technology has affected publishing indirectly, but stressed that conventional publishing and e-publishing can complement each other.
He mentioned some of the challenges facing publishers in Nigeria to include; weak funding, which has forced many publishing houses to close shop; inadequate staffing/capacity building; cost of power; and piracy.
He recommended that the NPA should engage the Federal Government/Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for possible intervention funds, as well as partner with Nigerian libraries, universities, education ministries (in order to influence government policy on books), and international agencies for financial support.
On piracy, Prof. Sodipo stressed that pirates are dangerous people adding, “Pirates dedicate large sums of money to fight NPA. But does NPA do the same? Piracy is an organized crime, NPA needs to vote more money to fight the menace in collaboration with the Nigerian Copyright Commission,” said.
In a remark, Enugu State Governor and Special Guest of Honour at the event, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eze, described publishing as a critical endeavour which helps in dissemination of information and knowledge.
While noting that printing books is not publishing, Gov Ugwuanyi challenged the publishers to ensure quality assurance, which he said was critical in the educational sector and urged them to help to promote the government agenda in training the teachers.
The immediate past President of NPA, Gbadega Adedapo lamented that adverse economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, particularly among publishers was enormous, noting that in the course of the year, 2020, several businesses stood still, all schools closed and in the process, bookshops and publishing firms closed; placing thousands of employees at the risk of losing their means of livelihood.
“How do we develop a well thought out systematic approach to strengthen our operations as publishers – being a major anchor in the book supply chain? What are our plans to thrive better in our businesses in order to meet any future challenges that may arise again after COVID-19 pandemic? This is crucial and serves as a prompt for our assemblage today,” he stated.
The Authority South East post was told that the investiture of Hon Uche Anioke led new leadership of Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) will take place in Ibadan in the month of January, 2021.
Photo of Newly elected President òf Nigerian Publishers Association Hon. Uchenna Cyril Anioke, addressing members during the 55th annual conference and General meeting of the association, held in Enugu.