This comes from new article by Jeremy Weate (founder, Cassava Republic Press) published on Africa is a Country in which the hypocrisy (or counterproductive measures) of the Nigerian administration is laid bare in the new series of tariffs placed on book importation, in contravention of a treaty signed with UNESCO.
Here’s an excerpt:
The reality is, Nigerian publishers who wish to sell good quality books at an affordable price are forced to print overseas. There’s nothing particularly innovative or unusual in this: many Western publishers now print in Asia too. Cheap electricity and labour, access to international paper markets as well as technical know-how limit globally competitive print facilities to a small group of countries. Nigeria has no hope of competing with these countries any time soon. A wiser alternative policy decision would be to not even try. Nigerian paper mill and printing companies catering to local (non-book) printing needs can be supported through tax breaks and subsidies to nurture market development, without the need for protectionism. The lesson learnt from other sectors in Nigeria (such as textiles), is surely that tariffs and import bans stimulate piracy, rather than local market development. It is therefore also likely that book pirates may benefit from the punitive tariff. In other words, authors as well as Nigerian publishers will suffer.