The Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) has said that the pulp and paper industry can create more than 500,000 jobs, if the value chain is revived.
Mr Wahab Lawal, President of the institute told newsmen on Thursday in Lagos that paper products were very important because of their high consumption by Nigerians.
He urged the government to leverage on the high consumption of paper to create jobs for the youths.
“The paper value chain, if harnessed well, can create up to 500,000 instant jobs.
“The only hindrance we have is that we lack paper mills and our pulp industry has gone extinct.
“If revived, the value chain of planting pulp, processing and refining of paper products into cartons, designed papers, and plain papers can create massive jobs for the youth, instead of complaining of unemployment.
“Take India for instance, they are one of our biggest importers of paper; they have up to 515 paper mills, and we rely on them for almost all the paper products we consume here, so that means we are creating jobs for their own youths.
“Because of the current economic crisis, the prices of paper products have continued to skyrocket, and we have no choice than to accept whatever prices we are offered,” Lawal said.
Mr Kehinde Afolabi, Chief Executive Officer of PckgPlus, a packaging company that uses paper products, said that the need for better packaging and branding of products by SMEs had caused a boost in the paper industry.
According to him, so many youths are being employed in Lagos, Kano, and Ibadan, which are some of the largest hubs for paper products in the country.
Meanwhile, a report by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) stated that the capacity utilisation of the pulp and paper sector reduced from 60.5 per cent in 2014 to 52.8 per cent in 2015.
The report further stated that the rate of raw material sourcing for pulp, paper and publishing sector reduced from 49.6 per cent in the last quarter of 2014 to 32.5 per cent in 2015.