A new factory for production of toothpicks and pencils has been opened at Ekom Iman, Etinan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, by the state governor, Mr. Emmanuel Udom.
A statement said the project was established through the Akwa Ibom Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Scheme and that it was part of activities to mark the second anniversary of Emmanuel’s administration.
In the statement, the governor also said plans were underway to ensure that all consumables for his administration’s free and compulsory education scheme were produced in the state.
The governor — who disclosed that the toothpick and pencil factory would operate in line with international standards on environmental friendliness — said it was shameful that Nigeria, with an estimated population of 170 million, was importing toothpicks and pencils.
Emmanuel said he was happy that Akwa Ibom State had taken the lead in pencil production as there were projections that Nigeria would only start producing pencils in 2018.
He said, “When we started this project, some people said it was just groundbreaking, but today we can all see the project has become reality. People don’t know that groundbreaking is the first step towards industrialisation.”
He added that his administration would soon inaugurate a factory for the production of plastics as well as medical consumables for primary and secondary health care.
In continuation of its second anniversary celebration, Emmanuel’s administration had also inaugurated a coconut oil refinery project at the Ikot Abasi/Mkpat Enin/Eastern Obolo axis of the state.
The governor, who said coconut has over 360 uses according to research, said the construction of the refinery would enhance foreign direct investment and that the project would be completed within 18 months.
According to a statement, Emmanuel lamented that some youths were out to frustrate the efforts of his administration by destroying the seedlings at the state’s coconut plantation.
Vowing that the culprits would be arrested and prosecuted, the governor charged village heads to caution their youths to protect government investments in their domains rather than engaging in acts of sabotage and vandalism, warning that his government would not hesitate to withdraw the certificates of village and clan heads whose subjects stall government development projects.
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