A pencil and toothpick factory has been established by some Nigerian youths in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the first of its kind in Africa.
The factory was established under the sponsorship of the National Directorate of Employment, and employs over 250 graduates.
A young graduate, Mr. Samuel Babatunde, reportedly conceived the idea of local toothpicks production in Nigeria and convinced the management of the NDE that the product could be produced with bamboo stems.
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The NDE’s sponsorship of the project is part of the agency’s effort towards complementing the micro-economic policies of the Federal Government, aimed at stimulating local production of goods.
At the inauguration of the factory in Akure, the Acting Director-General of the NDE, Mr. Kunle Obayan, explained that some young graduates approached the agency early this year with the proposal to set up the factory to produce toothpicks, adding that the agency accepted the proposal because it was perceived to be a viable project.
Mr. Obayan stressed that the viability of the project is not in doubt as the Central Bank of Nigeria no longer provides foreign exchange for the importation of toothpicks which costs the country millions of dollars.
He further emphasized the NDE’s commitment to supporting the toothpick factory from the production point to the marketing of the products to enable the business to survive.
While calling on other young graduates with good ideas to bring their proposals to the NDE, Obayan said the NDE was ready to sponsor any good proposal so that Nigerian youths will be empowered and unemployment will reduce in the country.
The initiator of the project, Mr. Samuel Babatunde, expressed his gratitude to the NDE for the support given to him and his colleagues to execute the project, making the first toothpick manufacturing factory in Africa a reality.
He further urged that Federal Government to tackle the problem of power for the business to survive.
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