FG’s Ban On Souvenirs: Abuja Printers, Souvenir Makers React | Independent Newspapers Limited
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FG’s Ban On Souvenirs: Abuja Printers, Souvenir Makers React

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Posted: Sep 1, 2016 at 12:55 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Juliet Oyoyo & Suleiman Bappah



The recent directive of the Federal Government banning its ministries and agencies from producing or, purchasing souvenirs for workshops, seminars and similar functions, has generated varied reactions from printers and makers of souvenirs, who think it is detrimental to their businesses.

Souvenirs, items produced to make an event or place memorable, are heavily voted for in the planning of government events like workshops, and others.

This, over time, became the source of sustenance for many businesses in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), giving rise to the a huge printing and souvenir making hub at the Murg Plaza and UTC Plaza around Area 10, Abuja.

While some think the ban, which is strictly on Government functions, as one that would reduce corruption and wastage in governance, the decision has received a swell of criticisms.

In trying to look at the effects such a ban might have on the general overview, Independent sought the comments of the public as to the overriding interest of the directive, to the economic and financial wellbeing of producers of souvenirs and also, its implications.

Independent also sought the views of producers of souvenirs at the MURIG Plaza at Area 10 in the FCT which is mostly patronised by government, while UTC is for mostly souvenirs as the ban is poised to impart negatively on their businesses.

For John Chime, Vice Chairman of Area 7 Shopping Centre where most of the souvenirs are been produced, he feels that we have a new government in place, and each government to him comes with its own procedures thereby have the right to decide on where they want their administration to focus.

According to him, “whatever decision the government takes, they should make sure that it will not affect the people negatively because there are some people that their only source of income is to produce souvenirs in this Shopping Centre.

“If you look around this area 10 market, you will realise that almost of all the shops here are into production and printing of souvenirs and each shop has about seven to twenty youths working for their bosses as an apprentice and they are paid between fifteen to twenty thousand monthly, but with this ban, these youths are definitely going to be out of job”.

Commenting further, he said:  “the government has the right to stop it if they suspect any foul play by their official because some of them do this for their selfish interest thereby making so much money for themselves. An item which ordinary sells for N200 , you see them increasing the amount to almost N1,500.

“Though, putting a stop to it by the government is not Nigeria’s immediate problem now. Nigerians are faced with the problem of hunger, unemployment and lack of funds all over the country. I would also commend President Buhari for his style of governance, am really impressed with him. Gone are the days when you will do nothing and expect plenty of money. Now you have to work hard to earn a living”.

Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, the Managing Agent of MURIG PLAZA, believes that the government of the day has the right to introduce any policy which they feel is right for the people for whichever reason they have, but frowned at the banning of souvenirs by the government as it had started taking its toll on the producers and importers of such goods.

According to him, “agreed it is not only government and it’s agencies that patronise these people but the government is the biggest customers.

“Those who depend on this business as their source of livelihood are now suffering. I know of a guy who collected loan from the bank to import souvenirs and now the government has placed a ban on its agencies from producing souvenirs, what do you want this guy to do.

“If you go to shop B107 and B108, people queue to buy souvenir goods but go to that shop now, it is empty no customers to patronize them.

“Government has the right to introduce any policy but they need to listen to other people and also consider the people and how this policies would affect them.

“From all indication, the decision is beginning to have a huge effect on the businesses at the two plazas. The business owners there said they are only smiling, but that deep down in them they are suffering”, he said.

Chux Davis Onyemaka, a public commentator at the plaza said from the position the announcement was built upon, it was narrowed down to federal government occasions.

“Be that as it may, it still bedevils the chances of survival especially as the provision of souvenirs has been a source of survival for artisans on the streets who are majorly engaged in the production of these materials.”

According to Prince Chux,” if the Federal Government is venting its basis of the ban on the gateway of saving and combating corruption, I am afraid; it is only contributing to unemployment and social vices. All angles of economy drive ought to be considered with its adverse effect taken into consideration”.

“When youths who found and pitched their tent on what they know how to do best and you end up making them handicapped by not engaging their hands and minds and importantly so, you risk the upsurge of social vices and monumental societal misfits”.

On what could be likely implications of the directives on government officials who go on programmes/workshops, considering that such souvenirs are attestations of their participation and involvement in these events, many believe it would dampen morale among the working class.

Dahiru Abdulsalam views the directive as being quite sad. The sense of belonging will no longer be there anymore and the official feeling of seeking to learn will decline as the motivational tools and materials has been whisked away, he stated.

“It is really sad! Nigerians did not bargain for this. This is exactly what took place in 1984 and it is repeating itself again. Sad!!

“This government is myopic” said Mr. Bond Atama.

“The immediate expense is what it is against as it feels that some people use the purchase of souvenirs to siphon money from government.

“Agreed, it will cut down on overheads of MDAs just like it was achieved during the administration of Yar’adua of Blessed memory with the ban on the production of calendars and diaries.”

Asked on the effects of the ban on producers of souvenirs, with government being the largest patron and again, the possibility of this creating some form of unemployment which could also cause an upsurge in criminal activities, Mr. Atama agrees that is one negative angle which government has to address.

But, according to him, government functions are done in collaboration with other agencies; local or international and these agencies will still produce souvenirs. This will also, not affect morale amongst officials as the civil servants are more than happy that they still have their jobs and salaries are being paid, Atama stated.

“This is what we have been reduced to under this inconsiderate regime. They just raised the tax in my office and my salary was cut with as much as N27,000. And, funny enough, some persons are still saying we should be thankful to God that we still have a job. How unfortunate can we be?

“Civil servants are being highly over taxed; people are being discouraged from legitimate earnings by government. Are they even considering the societal implications to the unemployed youths and the society generally? I guess not!

This is capable of causing more problems for the country as there are too many things eating into ones’ income; higher fuel price, increase in the cost of foodstuff”, he said.