Asare Konadu Yamoah delivering his address
Ghanaian publishers have called for the enactment of policies that will insulate the industry from unnecessary “discretionary interferences” and also provide guarantee for potential investors into the industry.
According to the Ghana Publishers Association (GPA), policies such as a National Book Development and Distribution policy and a guaranteed purchase scheme with the Ghana Library Authority will respectively situate the industry within the framework of the overall national economic planning strategy and allow publishers publish the less popular but important genres of books.
“A truly liberalized book market will ultimately become a powerful incentive to attract investment both local and foreign to shore up the book industry and provide critical revenue to the state,” said the President of GPA, Asare Konadu Yamoah, at the 44th Annual General Meeting held on Thursday.
He also mentioned that a book procurement plan by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) would “offer us the best opportunity to plan and provide excellent service to the schools and GES.”
In the absence of such policies, publishers, he said, remained in an industry that had seen Covid-19 induced closure of schools render publishers poor and indebted.
In the Pre Covid-19 era however, book publishers, he noted, were not extensively engaged before the outmoding of books by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), thereby leading to the refusal of school to purchase books.
“Huge costs have been incurred with unsold stocks. Publishers have outstanding debts to pay to printers, authors and other service providers,” he said.
Going forward, he called for the setting up of a formal communication platform to discuss matters of mutual concern and also enable the facilitation of assessment of books in a transparent manner.
Beyond the publishing and selling of textbooks, the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, encouraged publishers to focus on market niche with huge potentials through innovative ways of getting people to build a reading culture that would improve literacy in the country.
He for instance said that there was great demand for children books on great African personalities as parents looked forward to empowering their children to do great things.
The Secretary General of pan-African Writers Association (PAWA), Dr. Wale Okediran, advised publishers to improve their Information Technology (IT) literacy for the purpose of adapting to the ‘new normal’ and taking advantage of opportunities the internet offers to authors and publishers.
For the purpose of sanitizing the sector and promoting harmonious relationship between authors and publishers, he entreated the GPA to investigate complaints and take punitive measures where necessary against culpable members who engage in unethical practices.
He also advised local authors and publishers to seek international collaborations which guaranteed access to bigger markets outside the country.
The theme for the AGM was “Covid-19 impact on the Ghanaian Publishing Industry: Challenges and Opportunities.”
By Issah Mohammed