The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, has called on Ghanaian publishers to increase their production capacity to meet market demands.
“We must encourage the capacity of our local printers such that the situation where it costs cheaper for books to be imported rather than the importation of the material to produce books internally, may be averted. This would help develop the capacity to print and publish all the books required in this country,” he added.
Speaking at the 43rd Ghana Book Publishers Association (GBPA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Accra last Thursday, Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh, who is also a former Director, Newspapers, of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, said in as much as the association was demanding the government to prioritise the award of publishing contracts to local companies, the onus lay on the association to also develop its internal content capacity.
This year’s AGM, which was on the theme: “Building an effective stakeholder engagement for the advancement of the Ghanaian Publishing Industry”, was the 43rd meeting of the book publishers.
It brought together members of the GBPA, the Ghana Writers Association (GAW), the Ghana Library Association (GLA), the Ghana Printers and Paper Converters Association (GPPCA), the Copyright Society of Ghana and other participants in the publishing industry.
Highlighting some of the challenges that had plagued the industry over the years, the President of GBPA, Mr Elliot Agyare, said the advent of new media technology was having a toll on the industry.
“Bloggers are publishing, writers are publishing, everyone can actually become a publisher. The entry standards have been lowered and there is no traditional protection anymore. Our business practices are changing and the traditional means of selling books are becoming outdated. Bookshops are closing in some places and publishers are no longer comfortable holding huge stocks and inventory,” he lamented.
Mr Agyare said such challenges called for the reinvention of the publishing industry if it was to remain relevant.
“It is important to rethink how we do what we do because whether we like it or not, whether we are aware of it or not, our industry is being changed beyond recognition. What used to be a traditionally stable, predictable industry is being disrupted by forces beyond our control,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah, charged the GBPA to build an effective stakeholder engagement for the advancement of the country’s publishing industry and also use evidence-based advocacy to get its issues addressed.
“Advocacy thrives on numbers and it is important to have many followers yet a common voice in putting across your views to policy makers. Advocacy today is evidence-based, therefore, your advocacy should be research-based. This is one sure way to provide empirical evidence to support positions that you take,” he advised.
Mr Twum-Akwaboah further urged the GBPA to support local printers, saying “their concerns have implications for your business as well.
“The policy that allows textbooks to enter Ghana duty-free poses a challenge and unfairness to local printers whose raw materials attract some duties. The printers who are also members of AGI need to be supported. We need to galvanise our efforts to fight a common cause,” he added.