There is a severe paper scarcity in Pakistan. According to the country’s paper organisation, pupils won’t have access to books in the next academic year beginning in August 2022 because of the country’s paper shortage. The economic downturn, rising inflation, a steep tax on imported paper, and the monopoly of the local paper businesses have all been blamed for the paper crisis.
This implies that the education industry will be impacted. Many pupils won’t be able to purchase textbooks. Additionally, this occurs when Pakistan’s universities and colleges are preparing for the start of a new academic year. According to the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Pakistan, school boards in Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won’t be able to produce new textbooks for the forthcoming academic year, leaving millions of pupils without access to them.
Furthermore, middle-class students will be impacted by the lack of textbook availability. The nation’s educational institutions may take advantage of the parents of the kids by making them pay astronomical prices for books.
WHY IS THERE A PAPER SHORTAGE?
In Pakistan, there are about 18,000 enterprises engaged in packaging and printing. These businesses’ supply chain management is currently suffering as a result of the government’s poor policies. Taxes have been implemented, and the nation is experiencing a paper problem in addition to soaring inflation. If the costs of locally produced paper are not set, there will be a severe scarcity of textbooks this year, the publishers have warned.
The lack of imported paper is a problem for publishers. The government has levied high taxes on this. According to Aziz Khalid, chairman of the Publishers and Booksellers Association, the local paper mills are unable to manufacture enough paper to meet demand, which is hurting the importers of paper.
NO FIXED PRICE FOR PAPER
Pakistan’s top economist, Dr. Qaiser Bengali, stated during a news conference that prices have “skyrocketed” as a result of the country’s serious paper problem “. Publishers are unable to set book prices because it is currently so pricey.
According to Khalid, textbooks won’t be able to be sold to pupils if the price of paper is not fixed. The local paper producers, he continued, “are constantly boosting rates. Currently, the cost of local paper has climbed by over 200 percent, and although it is also of lower quality than paper produced abroad, “He spoke to IANS news agency.
“Since January, there has been a rise of Rs 100 per kg of local paper. The printing and packaging sectors are on the verge of collapse as a result of the current circumstances, “According to Khalid, there has been a weekly increase in the price of local paper ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 8 per kg. The administration “has not taken any concrete “actions in this direction.
WHAT REQUIREMENTS DO PRINTING PRESSES HAVE?
The government has been urged to lower the taxes and levies imposed on the importation of paper by the Publishers and Booksellers Association. “The government is preventing Pakistan from accessing the export market worth billions of dollars by boosting prices of locally produced low-quality paper and imposing tariffs on good grade imported paper,” said Khalid.
WHAT COMES UP?
A Pakistani blogger has questioned the nation’s “failing and inept rulers.” “At a time when the nation is caught in a vicious cycle of borrowing loans to pay back the previous loans, ANI stated that people are being asked how they can resolve the economic issues.
We have observed the policies of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Yahiya Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and Ayub Khan, the former president of Pakistan, according to Ayaz Amir, who was writing for the local publication Dunya Daily. We have observed the governments of tyrants, and they all shared one trait: they obtained loans to address issues, and then they obtained other loans to recoup the first loans.”
China, on the other hand, has struck a difficult deal with Pakistan on repayment of its loans and other investments made in Pakistan. For the use of a USD 4.5 billion Chinese trade credit facility, Pakistan paid China around USD 150 million in interest for the fiscal year 2021–2022. Pakistan paid USD 120 million in interest on loans totaling USD 3 billion in the 2019–2020 fiscal year.
The economic problem in Pakistan has not only been poorly handled by successive governments, but it has also required large loans from China, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. According to the news agency, the nation has also taken out 13 loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a 30-year period.