Commercial printers and brand business owners have lamented the recent ban on the distribution of gift items and souvenirs at events organised by agencies of the federal government.
The government had on Saturday announced the ban on procurement and distribution of bags, T-shirts and other souvenirs at events such as conferences and seminars funded by the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Some of the commercial printers in Abuja who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said the ban was ill-advised and that it would hurt their businesses.
The provost of the Commerce Plaza Tenant Association, Oloruntoba Kehinde, who lamented the ban, said it would his affect the business of the printers, negatively.
He alleged that the measure might have stemmed from sharp practices of some government officials who inflate prices of items they are asked to purchase.
“There is wastage of funds. An office may need N200,000.00 for souvenirs but may end up demanding thrice or quadruple that amount, so it’s not about printers,” he said.
Admitting that the current federal government could fashion out its own policies best suited to it, Mr. Oloruntoba said his association hoped that the policy would be reversed soon.
He said, “We are hoping that at the end of this tenure, the policy will be revoked. As it is now, printers will find it hard to adjust to the ban”.
A graphic artist, Stephen Adeboye, told this newspaper that the ban would adversely affect his business, “because the government decision is equivalent to taking food out of the mouths of commercial printers”.
He added, “First of all, the printing contracts we got from government agencies before now, were not even direct but more of third party contracts. Now, even those are gone, just like that. We understand the government wants to cut costs but what about us, printers with families to feed.”
Anthony Akerele, a brand artist, said the federal government did not care about the current economic condition in the country.
“The ban is not bearable at all,” he said. “The souvenir printing was one avenue for us to take care of ourselves and our families. This action is the same as taking candy from a baby, who does that.”
Sylvester Edetanlen, a printer said government may likely force some printers whose very livelihood depended on government souvenirs out of business.
“Ever since the ban, demands for my services have dropped by 50 per cent. This is a serious problem for me and many others who feel cheated for doing honest work,” Mr. Edetanle said.
However, Kayode Oladujoye, a branding businessman, said the change made no difference to his business as government agencies and parastatals do not patronize his business.
“For the past 6 months, prior to the announcement, we have been trying to get contracts from government offices to no avail. They often say there is no money.
“So, it’s always a surprise when we see branded gifts carrying the names of these same agencies.”
A printer, Eniola Saba, said he was not bothered about the ban because government workers would still patronize commercial branding and printing business owners for personal events branding.
“I believe that the federal government ban is an attempt to plug unnecessary spending on events within the MDA’s, but it has no effect on our business because MDAs workers still have their personal events. Their need for such personal events will make up for whatever loss we will incur from the ban,” he said.