Pencil Production, according to The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, will create about 100,000 jobs in Nigeria, come 2018. Mr Onu mentioned that this was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan, to revamp the wholesale production sector.
Before you ask what the big deal about pencil production is, note that the first tool you handled in school was a pencil, right after you dropped your slate and chalk. Pencil is widely used in Nigeria by pupils, students, artists, engineers and architects among others. And if the production can cover coloured range, then make-up artistes would be included as beneficiaries of this product.
The Minister spoke positively about the plan to set up a pencil production factory, which would have a meaningful impact on the economy, because the aim of the Minister of Science and Technology, is to “commercialize developed ideas and research findings to principal levels.” Nigeria has timber in abundance, which means the cost of getting material for production would be minimal, not forgetting that the new industry would add to the export value of the country’s economy, aside creating jobs for millions of Nigerians.
No doubt, this business would turn out very profitable as pencil is a mass product and also one of the very useful things you can buy with 50 Naira or less in Nigeria. Onu affirmed that the most important thing about setting up a pencil factory in Nigeria, aside the obvious demand for the product, is that it will create jobs for over 100,000 people in the country.
Yes, I have heard questions on why pencils. We chose pencils to symbolize the problems that we have and our commitment to local production. To produce pencils, we need wood, graphite, rubber for the eraser and possibly, we will need aluminium to hold the rubber in place. Then, we may need paint to give it colour. But even if we don’t add paint or rubber, already we have a pencil and it will write.
Now, we have all the things to produce a pencil, which is used by a large number of people from our young pupils to engineers, and it looks simple to produce, yet we have not been able to produce it. That is why we talked about producing pencils.
The pencil-production idea will make meaningful impact on the economy. It will certainly do. The wide aim of the ministry is to commercialize ideas, research findings, etc that we have developed to principal levels. And there are so many of them.
We are working with the organized private sector. The National Association of Small-Scale Industrialists and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group had visited us here; they had never done that until now. We are making them understand we have taken a big risk off them by doing research and development and clearing the pitfalls, so theirs is to come in and invest.
Nigerians will not cease to keep a crossed finger till 2018, when the much talked about pencil production will commence. Hopefully, with about 100,000 unemployed people taken off the labour market, the livelihood of a lot of Nigerians would be upgraded for the better.