By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The dream of Nigeria putting a stop to the importation of toothpicks and pencils into the country is very close to being a reality.
This is because some graduates have established a factory for the production of the items in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
This is courtesy the financial support from the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
It was gathered that the idea of local production of toothpicks in Nigeria was brought forward to the NDE by one of the graduates and after deliberations, the agency agreed to be part of it.
According to reports, the toothpicks would be made from bamboo stems, which is readily available in Ondo State.
At the moment, about 250 graduates are working at the factory, which was commissioned by the Acting Director-General of the NDE, Mr Kunle Obayan.
Mr Obayan noted that the NDE sponsored the project as part of its effort towards complementing the micro-economic policies of the Federal Government, aimed at stimulating local production of goods.
“It is on record that millions of Dollars are being spent on the importation of toothpicks and pencils. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) no longer provides foreign exchange for the importation of toothpicks; therefore, the viability of this project is not in doubt.
“We are ready to sponsor any good proposal so that our youths will be empowered and unemployment will reduce in this country,” he said.
According to him, the NDE would support the factory from the production point to the marketing of the products to enable the business to survive.
On his part, the initiator of the project, Mr Samuel Babatunde, thanked the NDE for the support, but urged the government to address the issue of power supply in the country.
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