NIGERIAN paper imports during the last six months of 2021 added up to N296.696bn ($716m) as a result of the fact that the nation’s mills have all but grounded to a halt forcing the country to be dependent on overseas supplies.
Over recent years, Nigeria’s paper mills have collapsed years after privatisation, forcing the economy to depend on imported paper for its needs. According to recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS),Nigeria imported paper and its allied products worth N296.696bn between July and December 2021.
While paper valued at N188.137bn was imported in the third quarter of 2021, imports in the last quarter of the year was estimated at N108.559bn. Layo Bakare-Okeowo, a former chairperson of the Pulp, Paper and Packaging Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, said the local paper industry was dying and in need of urgent government intervention.
Ms Bakare-Okeowo said: “We need to have a functional paper industry in Nigeria. Egypt has 25 paper mills but how can Nigeria with a bigger population have no functional paper industry.”
“This is a sector that has been abandoned. Let us forget about what has happened to paper mills and focus on the crisis in the paper sector. We want the government to save this sector by providing the enabling environment.”
Nigeria once had three paper mills in the country made up of the Nigeria Paper Mill located in Jebba, the Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company Limited at Oku-Iboku in Akwa Ibom State and the Nigerian National Paper Manufacturing Company Limited in Ogun State. None of the mills are currently operating at even at half of their capacities.