THERE are no publishers printing textbooks locally because the Zambian manufacturers are not supported, leading to a delay in the delivery of the educational material to schools in Zambia, the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Technology heard yesterday.

Book Hut Limited director Kunal Patel submitted that there is no support for local manufacturers of textbooks to attract local publishers to print textbooks at a cheaper cost.

He appealed to the Ministry of Education to reserve certain jobs of the new curriculum to Zambians manufacturers.

Mr Patel said reserving certain parts of the new curriculum procurement process exclusively to Zambian manufacturers would encourage more companies to print in Zambia and create more employment for Zambians.

“The challenges that we face with the education sector is that not enough support is given to local manufacturers of textbooks.

We are a publisher and printer of textbooks and we are supporting the local industry by manufacturing the product in Zambia,” Mr Patel said.

He said it was cheaper for a publisher to import finished textbooks which attracted zero Value Added Tax (VAT) than for local manufacturers because they had to pay VAT on raw paper when it came into the country.

“This puts our books at a higher price than imported books as the finished product attracts no taxes. This is a big disadvantage for any printer in Zambia as the volume work will always be printed outside the country,” Mr Patel said.

He said currently no publisher was printing books in Zambia, adding that this had led to a delay in the delivery of books to Zambia.

Mr Patel said Book Hut had invested heavily into machinery for production of printed materials and was the only private Zambian publisher who could produce textbooks locally.

“Our business is related to production of educational materials for the Ministry of Education.

Our education materials are produced from the guidelines given to us by the Curriculum Development Centre and workshops are held to develop materials,” he said.

Mr Patel added that Book Hut Limited had a team of experts who coordinated the development of materials and recommended how to get the best out of its authors.

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