Matiang’i’s directive threatens textbook industry

Suleiman Gakaria the head of sales at Text book centre in an exclusive interview with Baraka FM PHOTOO COURTESY

Nairobi,KENYA:Business in the text book sector across the country has started crumbling after players in the industry said that they have witnessed huge losses amounting up to a half of their sales this year, as schools reopen.

In an exclusive interview with Baraka Fm Head of sales  atText Book center in Nairobi Suleiman Gakuria said that the decline mostly could have  been occasioned by education cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi’s promise that government would procure textbooks for public schools directly from publishers.

Gakuria said that the ministry’s directive has hampered smooth running of their business across the country.

“We have of course noticed that there has been huge decline in our business , compared to previous years .”He said

“In our assumption  it has to do with the directives that have come from the ministry of education ,and in particular what Mr Matiangi said in the media ,parents have adopted a wait and see attitude ,we have noticed November ,December which are normally peak months for us have been a slow down.”He added

By the end of last year the CS said that the government would supply textbooks to schools as from January this year to reduce what he termed as corruption in procurement.

Both the government and private schools will produce the books for core curriculum subjects.

Gakuria said that the decline in their sales has been felt at the national level but has been adversely felt in the upcountry which entails the small and medium enterprise businesses .

He warned that if the situation goes on as it is ,then many businesses especially in the upcountry will close their businesses due to lack of customers .

“On the other side , our wholesale business and our bookshops in the upcountry has been completely diminished .”Gakuria said

“We are at half of what we would have sold “He added

In the new ministerial guidelines, form one students who report to school between January 9 and 12 will be issued with six text books :Maths ,English, Chemistry ,Biology and Kiswahili.

He accused the CS of failing to address the matter at hand and failing to address them together with the stakeholders saying that such move will hurt the economy especially the growth of SME’s .

He further accused him of blanket condemnation on corruption allegations in the industry pointing that he could have taken action against those who were being involved in corrupt tendencies both in private sector and in the government.