How To Include A Running Head In Apa Style Pape The Printing Profession In Sierra Leone

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The Printing Profession In Sierra Leone


From the surf beaches of the southwest, the Republic of Sierra Leone rises in a series of jagged steps to the broad plateau of the ill-defined Atlantic/Niger watershed on the northeastern border.

It is between the Republic of Guinea to the north, the Republic of Liberia to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west with an area of ​​71,740 square kilometers and a population of 4.9 million, most of which are urban.

Printing is the art of reproducing originals that can be texts, drawings or images, in black and white or in color, using various printing methods, countless times. The production method can be Relief (raised surface), Planography (flat surface) or Gravure (recessed surface). During either process, ink of any color is transferred to a wide variety of printing material, such as paper, bottles, plastic, and paper commonly known as “substrate” (Mind, 1986).

Printing has been around for years (dating back to 768-770 from Japan), but the modern printing press can be traced back to the 15th century after the invention of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg. In Sierra Leone, printing started after the founding of the colony, but the printing press burned down when the French attacked the colony in 1794. Another printing press was installed in 1796. In the initial stages of the industry, the printing press encountered many problems, among which the problem of housing stood out due to the lack of a building. Hence it was first located on Water Street, now Wallace Johnson Street, then moved to Fort Thornton, where the present State House is, and finally to the Secretariat Building. Again, for want of a suitable site, it was moved to George Street, where it was called Government Printing. Around 1808 it became an independent unit in which typesetting was done by hand using foundry types with manually operated foot printing presses (Davies, 1997). The industry began to develop to its fullest when on October 26, 1927 it was electrified and motor-driven mechanical printing and mechanical typesetting machines were installed. During this period, the Department was in charge of the Secretariat of Colonies, but after a series of administrative adjustments, it was transferred to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in which it operates to date. EAF Brandon was appointed as its first indigenous chief in 1950 (Davies, 1997).

Although the industry has grown very slowly since its inception and until recently the industry was purely a government concern. However, from the 1940s individuals began to invest in the industry by running printing houses dedicated to general works and newspaper production. Featured were Humble Noble Printing, The Guardian Press and Bangmolo Press, Bunumbu Press, Oduntor Press, New Era Printing, Commercial Printing Company, Daily Mail and Atlantic Printers. The operations of some of these presses were short-lived due to financial constraints. However, the Government Printing Department continued to grow steadily with the improvement of modern technology. In addition to printing government publications, the industry began printing textbooks, notebooks, and other commercial work to increase revenue, thereby reducing the country’s dependence on imported printed matter.

The spread of printing in Sierra Leone took a different form; there is the Government Printing Department, owned and funded by the government; the private sector, owned and financed by individuals; and plant printing units owned by organizations exclusively for their own printing requirements, such as the Bank of Sierra Leone, Bunumbu Press and Njala University College. Fourah Bay College has a binding. Currently, the private sector has overtaken the Government Printing Department, although the latter is the largest single printing press and employs the largest number of staff. There are almost thirty (30) privately owned presses, the largest number being concentrated in Freetown. In order to improve the profession, printers came together to form the Sierra Leone Printers Association on November 27, 1992, with the late Mr. Lissa O. Duramany as the first president. To achieve its goals, the National Institute of Printing and Technology was created for the training of printers


Huge capital outlay

Printing presses are underfunded. Printing is highly technological and mechanical and needs money. The cost of machinery and equipment is high and requires sufficient foreign exchange. This left many willing and highly professional printers prevented from establishing printing presses.


The profession is the one that is least protected either from the legislative point of view or from the printers themselves. Today in Sierra Leone there are many wallet and street printers who in most cases enjoy the viability of the printing industry more than the professional printers who work for the course. The resulting effect is that there is no plow in the industry. The introduction of the Indigenous Trade Protection Act of 1969 did very little to protect the industry from infiltration by foreigners, who have more financial power and can easily access bank loans than citizens.

Spare parts and materials

One of the major problems facing the industry is the lack of availability of spare parts and materials. There is no graphic arts company for the sale of spare parts and materials. This means that replacing spare parts and even materials takes a long time as they have to be imported. Complementing this problem is that of sustainability due to the lack of maintenance of the machines and experienced personnel to undertake the task. In addition, there are hardly any facilities for continuous training to improve the number of printers.

Government regulations

Over the years, the government has introduced measures that have almost crippled the industry, such as high import duties, sales taxes, turnover surcharge and bank charges on foreign exchange acquisition. These have left importers with no alternative but to reduce, or even stop importing. As a result, many printers now rely on small merchants who skirt these regulations but at a high cost. In addition, there is frequent shortage of power supply from the National Energy Authority which deters the completion of the works. In addition, the profession is characterized by a lack of coordination and cooperation between printers; lack of interest in trade promotion; lack of competence as the awareness of what is a “good printing job”. This led to greed and selfishness, thus opening the door to exploitation by ‘wallet printers’, non-printers and foreigners.

Some corrective measures

To improve the graphic industry, the following should be highlighted:

o The creation of a National Printing Institute where people inside and outside the profession can have access to training resources. Printers should put forth their resources to support this Institute.

o A graphic arts store should be established where printing and replacement materials can be available.

o Ready financing and foreign exchange must be available for the purchase of spare parts and materials.

o There should be cooperation between printers to strengthen the Printers Association.

o The printers must ensure constant energy supply with the provision of power plants to complement the services of the National Energy Authority. Only through the implementation of the aforementioned could the industry be revived and maintained for posterity.

Print is one of the most important mass media along with radio, movies and television. In many especially developed countries, printing is big business in terms of annual sales and number of establishments. In Sierra Leone, however, the printing industry is a relatively small business. The most common materials in which the industry is engaged are books, magazines, newspapers, calendars, souvenirs, postcards, writing tablets and reproduction of works of art. Invariably, this article looks at the origins of the industry in Sierra Leone, the different types of industries that have been established over the years, and the problems facing the industry.

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