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Stakeholders must safeguard local printing of textbooks

BY: Daily Graphic
Stakeholders must safeguard local printing of textbooks
Stakeholders must safeguard local printing of textbooks

This week the Daily Graphic has devoted extensive coverage to the concern raised by the Ghana Printers and Paper Converters Association (GPPCA) that attempts are being made by some publishers, in connivance with some local printers, to source the printing of government textbooks to printers outside the country.

We think the issue should be of serious concern to all well-meaning Ghanaians.

The Daily Graphic is not surprised that some foreign printers are in the country lobbying to take the contracts to their countries to print because they see an opportunity to capture the Ghanaian market.

We believe these foreign companies will do everything possible, including offering juicy packages to the publishers, to get the printing of government textbooks done outside the country.

We are happy that the GPPCA is committed to monitoring its members to ensure that none of them sends the contract outside to print.

Again, we are happy that the Education Ministry had insisted that publishers first present MoUs with local printers and also warned of sanctions against any publisher who would sneak out of the country to print the textbooks.

Even though we have not heard from the leadership of the publishers, we take it for granted that they are also committed to growing our local printing industry and will, therefore, impress on their members to commit to that cause.

The Daily Graphic believes this is the time to put words into action, for which reason we would want to hear the commitment of the ministry and particularly the minister, who had issued the warning early on.

We endorse the formation of the task force by the association which will identify all the successful publishers and printers who, in turn, should give their printing timelines to the task force to be used as a basis for the monitoring of the entire exercise.

There is no gainsaying the way the COVID-19 pandemic nearly caused most printing companies to fold up. But they are now picking up and, therefore, allowing the local printers the exclusivity to print textbooks locally affords them the necessary lifeline.

Additionally, printing these books locally will generate employment for our youth. Therefore, to carry these contracts outside to print, and thereby give such potential job opportunities to another country, can only be described as disastrous.

Even as we wait for the remaining publishers to be granted the go-ahead, the need for the ministry to be proactive is non-negotiable to ensue that the contracts are fully executed locally.

The delay in the award of the contracts is causing anxiety, and that is what is giving the impression that there is an attempt to smuggle part of the contracts out.

We expect that the GPPCA will take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity and ensure that its members not only print all the volumes of books required in time but also keep up to international quality standards.

The Daily Graphic applauds this policy by the Ministry of Education and asks all the stakeholders to embrace it wholeheartedly and work to achieve the expected outcomes.

We are all watching closely.