NDE targets 2,000 jobs as young entrepreneurs begin pencil, toothpick production
About 2,000 new jobs would be created through the local production of pencil and toothpicks, Acting Director General of National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Kunle Obayan has said.
Speaking in Akure, the Ondo State capital at the commissioning of toothpick manufacturing firm established by a Fishery graduate of the University of Ibadan, Samuel Babatunde, Obayan said the initiative would not only create jobs, but signal the end of toothpick importation into the country.
While calling on the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to approve the application of a waiver for End User’s Certificate (ECU) for Urea Formaldehyde Resin Powder, an essential input to the production of pencil using waste paper.
He explained: “All the equipment for the production of pencils have been purchased and installed but the authorisation for the use of Formaldehyde Resin Powder as an input is being awaited. I am confident that when the second component of this initiative takes off, over 2,000 jobs would have been injected into the economy.”
He submitted that the need for the pencil firm to begin operation in earnest is informed by the need for the operators to start paying back the start-up loan.
“The NDE provided the enabling environment for the establishment of this cottage industry by providing the startup capital. I need to state that the startup capital is a loan that is expected to be repaid over a period of time. Our expectation is that this venture will be able to provide 30 immediate direct factory jobs and another 150 indirect jobs within the next first six months of operation. It will also lay the foundation for the gradual substitution of the importation of toothpicks while aiming at export of the same product,” the NDE helmsman stated.
Obayan urged Nigerians to change their lifestyle and adapt to the dictates of the country’s current socio-economic realities, saying, “We no longer need to import toothpicks from China or any other country for that matter. Let us begin to patronize our own from today henceforth. Every step must be taken to protect, nurture and ensure the survival of this business and indeed all other small scale businesses that are providing unique services, products and also creating jobs.”
The Chief Operating Officer of the group, Samuel Babatunde, identified lack of support from government and epileptic power supply as the challenges confronting entrepreneurship in the country.