Operating since 1939, the Guyana National Printers Limited (GNPL), which was once the primary printing source for all Government documents today is struggling to be competitive and profitable.
However, the current administration believes that this national institution remains relevant and can still serve the printing needs of the public sector. This position was made clear by President David Granger, who toured the La Penitence facility yesterday and assured of his Government’s commitment to providing the infrastructure and equipment needed to transform it into a competitive enterprise.
The President lauded the 80-plus staff members, many of whom have worked at the printery for over 30 years, and who have accumulated considerable expertise and experience working under trying conditions. However, he noted that with improved technology, training will become necessary to improve overall efficiency. He urged the new Board of Directors to submit proposals for the rehabilitation and retooling of the facility.
Speaking to the staff members, the President explained that it is necessary to adapt to changes in a rapidly evolving society. “The experience that you have now has to be transformed into success in the future… I want to ensure that your employment is secure I want you to be assured we are going to continue to ensure that GNPL will overcome its obstacles and is made more competitive. You have to be able to compete with your competitors, who have better equipment… We have to look at recapitalising GNPL to ensure that the equipment you have is abreast with the technological age,” he said.
In 2015, the GNPL suffered financial losses to the tune of some $60M as a result of poor oversight and poorly functioning equipment. However, as of October this year, the new Board has worked to reduce that loss by $7.4M. The company is now looking to break-even by the end of this year and hoping to start turning a profit in 2017.
President Granger said, “Once you start making a profit you will create what is called a virtuous cycle, which means that as you get more money, you will acquire better equipment so that you can create a better product which will ensure that you get a bigger share of the market, which will in turn give you a bigger profit.”
With more advanced equipment, GNPL will be able to undertake 90 percent of the printing needs of the Government. The company also aims to diversify into the packaging business.
Among some of the key products of the GNPL are exercise books for distribution in schools, birth, death and marriage certificates, gazettes and other parliamentary documents including the budget estimates, calendars, labels and cardboard boxes.