Pakistan follows the path of Sri Lanka: the economic crisis triggers a shortage of paper; education to take a hit

Islamabad: Pakistan is following the path of Sri Lanka. The economic crisis has caused a severe shortage of paper which has weighed heavily on the education sector

Publishers have warned of a severe shortage of textbooks this year if prices for locally made paper are not set.

The problem of paper shortage has already started to show its effects as textbooks are not available in the market. This comes at a time when educational institutions in Pakistan are gearing up for the new session and need textbooks for students.

Announcements of

The Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association has warned that the paper shortage crisis will lead to an inability to provide textbooks to millions of students this year.

“If paper prices are not stabilized, booksellers will not be able to provide textbooks to millions of students this year,” said Aziz Khalid, president of the Association of Publishers and Booksellers.

“Local papermakers are constantly raising prices. At present, the price of local paper has increased by more than 200%, while its quality is also lower than that of paper produced abroad,” he added.

The publishers association also pointed out that the pricing formula is yet to be decided between the government and private publishers, which has been ignored by the government for some time and has led to a looming crisis.

“Since January, an increase of Rs 100 for a kilo of local paper has been observed. The current situation is pushing the printing and packaging industries towards collapse,” Khalid said.

“Each week, an increase ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 8 per kg of local paper is observed. But no concrete action has been taken by the government in this regard,” he added.

The unavailability of textbooks will affect the middle class, which could be used by educational institutions to exploit parents and force them to pay large sums to buy books.

“Publishers are also facing a shortage of imported paper, which is heavily taxed by the government. On the one hand, paper importers are suffering due to heavy taxes, while on the other, local paper mills cannot produce enough paper to meet the demand,” Khalid said.

In Pakistan, there are around 18,000 companies involved in printing and packaging. With government policy of taxation, coupled with rising inflation, these companies and their supply chain management are suffering.

“We call on the government to reduce taxes and duties on the importation of paper to avert the impending textbook crisis. By raising the prices of locally produced poor quality paper and imposing taxes on good quality imported paper, the government is preventing Pakistan from entering the multi-billion dollar export market,” he said. said Khalid.

Edward N. Arrington