Magnus Eze, Enugu
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, yesterday, commissioned the school pencil project of the Projects Development Institute (PRODA) Enugu.
This happened precisely four years after the minister, in 2015, charged the agency to, within the shortest possible time, commence production of pencils, warning that the country cannot continue to import the item from China when all the raw materials required for the manufacture of the product including graphite, lead, wood and aluminium were abundant in the country.
The minister also inaugurated two other projects of the agency; the induction furnace for fabrication of spare parts and production process of Azo dye from cashew nut shell liquid.
“For me, it’s something that’s very disturbing that we should be importing pencils into Nigeria and pencil is something that’s important in the school system; it’s used by students and professionals. I’m happy you went round; you saw pencils they produced.
The pencil technology is not as simple as people look at it and it has so many constituent parts and it can be used as a source of job for so many people; they can be using various components and then somebody can bring them together to get pencil but I’ve also directed them now that all forms of pencil, coloured pencil, even what our beautiful women use to colour their eyes, and all that; we should do research so that people can come here to get the technology and start producing them in the country,” Onu stated.
The minister urged industrialists to take advantage of the many research findings of the agencies under the ministry by making them available in the market.
Daily Sun gathered that the value-chain of pencil production would not only create about 400,000 jobs but also produce over 150 million pencils in a year.
Coordinator of the PRODA Pencil Project, Godfrey Ihezie, an engineer, explained that the project could be replicated in all the six geo-political zones since the raw materials are available in the country.