by Mary Koech

Equity Bank Kenya motto is: Your Listening, Caring Patner. One man can attest to this—the Kenya Publishers Association Chairman, Lawrence Njagi.

One time, the KPA chairman was denied a loan of Ksh.200,000 by a bank he had been saving with for several years. He wanted to start his own firm, and his banker refused to advance him the loan.

Lawrence Njagi, who is also the Managing Director at Mountain Top Publishers, walked out of the bank frustrated but decided to pass by another bank on his way home. He expected to receive the same treatment but was surprised to be offered a loan without producing a title deed or logbook. That bank listened to him, and it showed that it cared.

The Kenyan education system relies on publishers to produce course books to be used in classrooms by designing as well as delivering them to schools and bookshops. 

“Publishers not only incur production costs but also shipping costs,” Lawrence Njagi said.

Publishers depend on loans to fund their projects which has made some publishers opt to sell their properties in order to clear bank loans as well as facilitate expansion projects due to high input costs resulting to low income because they are also imposed to pay tax.

During the KPA 2019 end year party which was held at PrideInn, Westlands, on 13th December, 2019; the publishers freely expressed major challenges. Key of these are funding and market uncertainty. Publishers spend a lot in hiring editors, designers, illustrators, and printers only for their books to be turned down by Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) for failure to meet KICD standards.

Marketing Director Equity Bank, David Nyamu, who was in attendance, promised to have a meeting with KPA members in order to initiate a product that will favour publishers.

“We value education in our society,” Mr Nyamu said. He explained that it was the same reason Equity Bank was sponsoring needy students in secondary schools and tertiary levels.

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