Promoting the Book Sector : Minister Explains Mechanisms In View

This is contained in a bill the Minister of Arts and Culture, Bidoung Mkpatt defended before the Cultural Affairs Committee of the National Assembly on November.

An instrument to better stimulate, streamline and professionalise Cameroon’s book sector was presented and defended by the Minister of Arts and Culture, Bidoung Mkpatt before the Cultural Affairs Committee of the National Assembly on November 24, 2021. The bill to organise and promote the book sector in Cameroon seeks to capitalise on the gains from reforms initiated in 2017, ensure consistency between the various laws in the book sectors multiple problems and domesticate international conventions duly ratified by Cameron notably the Florence Agreement and the Marrakesh Treaty for the visually impaired. 
In his explanation, the Minister said the bill has an objective to standardize Cameroon’s book sector. “The bill which comprises 69 sections reaffirms the principles of promotion of reading, the fight against illiteracy, and promoting the publishing of books in the national languages and translating them into the two official languages. It also establishes the requirement to obtain approval before engaging in the various book industry trades and contains specific provisions relating to book sector networking and funding by private individuals, the State, and Regional and Local Authorities,” highlights the explanatory statement of the Minister to the Committee members. 
Cameroon’s book chain, the Minister’s statement states, has for many years now been facing some challenges among which are; limited endogenous production of quality books, lack of a true national book industry, increased counterfeiting that generates huge tax losses to the treasury and non-professionalism among its stakeholders. Furthermore, the school textbooks and manual subsector which according to the Minister has an estimated market share of FCFA five billion per year at the national level has witnessed a number of unorthodox practices. The bill presented and defended by the Minister therefore seeks to address the abovementioned problems by improving and restructuring, by defining the roles of the various links in the book chain which includes authors, publishers, printers, publicists, distributors, booksellers and librarians. The bill also contains specific provisions relating to school textbooks and manuals. 
 

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