Government’s abject failure to fix the price of locally produced paper, millions of students nationwide may be forced to study without textbooks in the next academic year.
Aziz Khalid, the chairman of the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Pakistan and the Pakistan Association of Printing & Graphic Arts Industry, claimed that if the government does not regulate the price of paper, publishers won’t be able to provide textbooks.
Aziz bemoaned the fact that local paper producers have been steadily raising the cost of locally produced paper. Prices for local papers have jumped by 200 percent in only a few months.
He also said that imported paper is superior than locally produced paper. However, starting January of this year, the cost of local paper per kilogramme has climbed by Rs. The cost per kilogramme rises by Rs. 5-8 per week. Aziz highlighted that because of hefty tariffs, publishers are unable to utilise foreign paper in textbooks.
Local publishers no longer purchase paper for textbooks as a consequence. Millions of students could be forced to study without textbooks, yet the nation’s textbook publishing business might completely collapse as a result.
Aziz encouraged the government to lower taxes and levies on imported paper in order to enable the publication of textbooks of a high standard on a global scale. Uncoated woodfree paper was subject to a 10% regulatory tax in the annual budget for FY 2021–22. The tax was applied despite the fact that the identical product already had a hefty anti-dumping tariff of 39 percent.
Publishers of textbooks in Lahore indicated earlier this month that they would cease operations as a result of the rising cost of paper. Khalid Pervez, the president of the Traders Association in Lahore, has previously expressed concern over the city’s severe textbook scarcity.
The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board’s negligence has also been brought to the attention of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (PCTB). Millions of kids in the province are now starting the new school year without textbooks due to PCTB’s poor administration.