The Akwa Ibom State Government is set to commission the first ever pencil factory in the country.
The factory, which is also producing tooth pick, is a wholly-owned Akwa Ibom State Government company.
It was floated in 2015 under the Akwa Ibom Enterprises and Employment Scheme, an initiative aimed at re-awakening the spirit of enterprise among youths and position them to benefit from the industrialisation programme of the state government.
The Administrative and Utility Manager of the factory, Nsisiong Umoh, said although the factory is currently on a test run with a staff strength of over 60, all drawn from AKEES database, it has been producing for two months now.
According to Umoh, the factory produces about 4,000 to 5,000 pencils per day, 25,000 per week, 100,000 per month currently.
She said this will increase drastically when the factory is commissioned later in the year.
Umoh added that government’s plan is to also build pen, matches and sagged bag factories within the premises, thereby creating more employment opportunities for the teeming youths in the state.
She said although the factory is yet to start selling its products, so many companies have already indicated interest to act as their marketers/distributors.
While commending Governor Udom Emmanuel for making her and thousands of Akwa Ibom youths self-dependent, Umoh said she is optimistic that in a few years from now, Akwa Ibom State will be a major exporter of many products.
She said that the AKEES Pencils and Toothpicks Factory also produces branded toothpicks for special occasions.
Meanwhile, the pencil and tooth pick factory has received orders from the Sokoto State Government to supply 1,444,000 pencils every three months.
The Coordinator of AKEES, Elder Ufot Ebong, who also is the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Mattes and Due Process, made this known in Uyo, while interacting with journalists recently.
It could be recalled that the Federal Government had set 2020 as the date for the production of pencils instead of importing same, but Akwa Ibom State through AKEES, the pet project of Governor Emmanuel, has taken the bold step to beat that date by producing pencils and crayons earlier than the set date.