Nigeria Loses N400bn On Importation Of Paper And Allied Products
It has been reliably gathered that despite the much touted privatisation process of previous administrations, the three paper mills are not functional.
They are Nigeria Paper Mill (NPM) Limited located in Jebba, Kwara State; Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC) Ltd. in Oku-Iboku, Akwa Ibom State and Nigerian National Paper Manufacturing Company (NNPMC) Ltd., Iwopin, in Ogun State.
Managing Director/CEO of NNPMC, Ebun Braithwaite, who spoke with LEADERSHIP on phone, however, assured that the company is tackling the challenges head-on.
She said she was confident that with reversal at the company, activities which would impact positively on the host community and indeed the state will commence fully.
She noted that the problem of Iwopin Pulp and Paper Company has to be looked at within the larger context of the challenges facing the manufacturing sector in general.
She disclosed that Nigeria is losing over N400 billion from importation of paper products, basically from companies that were using it as their only raw materials.
“Companies like Bel Impex, makers of sub-brands of tissue papers in Lagos; PZ Industries Plc, Boulos Enterprises Limited and Epesok paper mill limited who are into envelopes and other paper manufacturing companies, are seriously complaining over high cost of importation which is affecting their production capacity”, Braithwaite said.
“The reality is that Nigeria is not yet in a position to manufacture paper in a commercially viable way, meaning without dependency on imported pulp. The country is probably about 10 years away from producing paper from pulp because we lack sustainable raw material resources, apart from the operational, technical and infrastructural challenges.
“As far as I know, there is no forest in the country that has pulpwood in sufficient quantities to meet the demands of the paper industry. The solution is for the state governments to begin to take a critical look at the use of our forests and to urgently address the issue of deforestation”.
It was gathered that of the three paper mills in the country, only the NPM and NNMC are producing, though at a low capacity, while the NNPMC is not functional at all.
As a result, 90 per cent of papers used to produce newspapers in the country are imported from other countries.