Funding PRODA to create jobs via local production of pencils


By Obike Ukoh

The entourage in the recent visit of Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology to Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, observed that previous administrations had not done enough to develop technology as a key sector.
The minister and his entourage were surprised when they were told that Nigeria imported pencils while PRODA has the capacity to produce 150 million pencils annually but not empowered.
Mr Godfrey Ihezie, Coordinator of the PRODA Pencil Project, told the minister that the value-chain of pencil production could create more than 400,000 jobs.
He explained that the six geo-political zones could replicate the project since the raw materials were available in the country.
He appealed to the minister to intervene and hasten the release of some imported equipment meant for the pencil production project being held at the Lagos port.
Ihezie stressed the need for government to show serious interest in the project, adding that if completed it would be the first of its kind in West Africa.
According to him, the raw materials are graphite, lead, wood, aluminum and local clay, among others, that PRODA can use to produce 3B, 2B, HB, 4B and GH pencils.
Ihezie said that PRODA also had the capacity to domesticate pencil making technology if the institute is funded adequately.
“The employment aspect should be taken very seriously, pencil has large market, there is no pencil factory in West Africa,” he said.
Mr Charles Agulanna, Director-General of PRODA, in his address, said that PRODA was established by the defunct East Central State Government under Edict No. II of 1971.
“It was established to absorb all the technocrats and artisans that served under Research and Production during the civil war.
“It was charged with the broad function of generating and catalysing industrialisation by carrying out industrial research from the laboratory stage to the pilot …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper