The printing industry in Liberia is being rocked by what some concerned Liberian printers have described as the artificial skyrocketing of prices of printing materials and lack of proper coordination, leaving the industry in a cloudy position without a promising future.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hints Media, David Oye, says that the situation is hampering growth among printers registered with government, which he said is as well hampering the nation’s economy as it relates to tax payment.
Oye’s observation comes in the wake of the October 10, 2023 electioneering in the country, lamenting that some other printers with financial capacities of buying printing materials from abroad, particularly from China, trade such materials at twice the price on the Liberian market, at the detriment of printers with limited funds in the printing industry.
He stated that this trading of imported printing materials from China on the Liberian market has left the printing industry challenged with regard to its future.
This situation, with an apparent division among printers registered with government (compounded by a situation of some politicians participating in the pending October 10, 2023 elections choosing not to print their flyers, banners and stickers, intended for their campaign expedition, in Liberia) impedes growth among tax-paying printers and the development of the economy.
Oye says he has observed that, given what he termed a strange trend in the printing industry, printers with the financial capacity are offering printing price to direct customers, which he stated undermines the means of expansion of printers with limited financial capacity.
“If a small-fund holder or a man who works in the printing industry gets a contract to print materials, each for 25 cents, but doesn’t own printing machines, he then takes the work to another printer who owns printing machines. He stands to make no profit because the same printer is offering the same amount of 25 cents to direct clients,” Hints Media’s CEO pointed out.
Printing materials such as banner and sticker rolls are said to be traded at an astronomical prices by importers, creating a challenging condition for printers with limited financial capacity in the printing industry, which causes them to remain in shamble and hardly expand their businesses.
Oye calls on the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to regulate price control in the printing industry for the benefit of all registered Liberian printers.
Apparently, looking at the challenging situation that has riddled the printing industry, particularly the lack of price control and structure, Oye emphasizes the need for government, private entities, NGOs and politicians to work or do business with the Liberia Printers Association (LPA), aimed at promoting the printing industry.
“Let’s not promote Chinese economy directly as politicians by printing campaign materials directly from China and leaving Liberian printers who are paying taxes to promote the country’s economy—leave them in a state of dilemma,” Oye urged.
He underscored the importance of unity among government-registered printers at the LPA, observing they are legitimate taxpayers and they need the protection and the enabling environment to carry out their business activities to foster growth.
Oye warned against what he called undermining, allegedly by some unregistered printers with no responsibility to promote government.