The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has reaffirmed its commitment to regulation of the printing industry in order to curb piracy in the printing business.
The Director-General of NCC, Dr. John O. Asein, stated this while speaking as special guest and member of panel of discussants at the 2nd Nigerian National Printers Conference themed: “Using Regulation to Revive the Ailing Printing Industry”, held at Oba Complex, Ogun State Secretariat in Abeokuta on 14th July 2021.
According to Dr. Asein, “The Nigerian Copyright Commission is currently working on having a wholesome regulation for the printing industry. The regulation is being worked out in order to ensure that pirates do not have a field day in the printing industry. Printers must be prepared for the long haul regulation because there will always be challenges in bringing out a regulatory framework. There will always be resistance to regulating but we must find a way of letting people understand why they must be regulated. We will not regulate just for the sake of regulating. More than ever before, there is need for self-regulation in the printing industry.”
The Director-General also stated: “Regulating the printing industry must be done in such a way that operators in the industry will feel secure about sustaining their business. There must be industry standard and there must be a clear way of meeting the industry standard which the regulation will protect.”
He urged printers to advance their business by making use of technology. In his words: “Printers must be positioned to define the future. You must embrace and anticipate technology bearing in mind the sustainability of your business. You must ensure that you leverage on technology to advance your business.”
The Director-General further called on printers to be flexible in the conduct of their business. “You must be willing to be flexible in your business. And you must be able to organise yourselves so as to be relevant,” he said.
Earlier, the President and Chairman-in-Council of Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON), Mr. Olugbemi Malomo, noted: “There is an obvious distortion in the equilibrium of the printing related economy of the nation resulting in the present predicament of our ailing industry. Such distortions include the unhindered printing of educational material and election material particularly outside Nigeria to the detriment of the local economy.”
According to CIPPON President, “Nigeria currently prints over 1.2 billion books annually and a significant part of that is printed outside Nigeria, not because of lack of capacity but because of people taking advantage of the outdated government policy. Will regulation solve this problem?”
Mr. Malomo observed: “The ease of doing business in Nigeria has allowed foreigners to come unhindered to the retail level of our industry competing with locals with support from their home country at a very difficult global economic challenges when all over the world, localisation is the new normal. Our industry is being denied the opportunity to build capacity. What do we do with the unhealthy competition among practitioners when all over the new competition is collaboration? Can we turn to regulation for answers?”
Former President of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, Dr. Rotimi Oladele, who presented a paper on “Using Regulation to Revive the Ailing Print Industry”, noted: “printing is an industry because it derives a wide and varied value chain”.
The panel of discussants at the conference concluded that regulation of the printing industry must be home grown and friendly. It added that Government involvement must work to curb corruption in the industry.
Other participants at the conference included the representative of Ogun State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Taiwo Adeyemo who declared the Exhibition Section open; a Kaduna State Government Printer, Hajia Ramatu Tukur; a Cross Rivers State Government Printer, Mr. John Ushe; and Mr. Adewummi Jacobs of Afkar Printing and Publishing Company.
Assistant Director, Public Affairs