Epileptic power, Forex scarcity hampers local pencil making, as import persists

The difficult economic environment and the persistent importation of pencils, coupled with the scarcity of foreign exchange and epileptic electricity supply have hampered Nigeria’s plan to manufacture pencils locally.

This is when Nigeria continues to lose over $2 billion a year from imported pencils and keep over 400,000 people out of work.

Recall that before 2015, there was no pencil manufacturing business in Nigeria and the then Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu promised that the nation would manufacture pencils in Nigeria by 2018.

However, stakeholders claim that since the country began manufacturing pencils in 2019, poor policy formulation by the federal government to incentivize operators has been lacking and as such they have been unable to maintaining competition in the face of continued imports of pencils and stifling of exploitation. environment in the country.

Commenting on the situation, the Founder/Managing Director of Bamib Resources and Investments Company Limited, Mr. Muideen Ibrahim, urged the Federal Government to come up with a policy that will encourage the local manufacture of pencils.

Ibrahim, speaking to reporters in Lagos yesterday, said that improving local content in making pencils from all projections as originally conceived would have a significant impact on economy and create at least 400,000 jobs.

According to him, such a projection was designed to have a significant impact on the economy and create at least 400,000 jobs.

Ibrahim said with determination based on the promises of then Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu that his company was incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Abuja in 2016 to carry out the manufacture of pencils and related products.

“We use old newspapers for the manufacture of our pencils in order to preserve the Eco System and also in compliance with one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Our pencils are green with higher quality products comparable to international standards,” he said.

Describing the business environment as tough and frustrating, Ibrahim said the company has traveled to 10 states, visited several ministries, parastatals and agencies without patronage.

“There is no form of encouragement other than Dr Ogbonnaya Onu who sent us letters to UBEC, Ministries of Education and Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs but they all turned us down,” said he added.

On the challenges facing the manufacture of pencils, the founder listed the lack of power supply, clientelism and the high cost of diesel, non-implementation of local content, high exchange rates, among others.

“Nigerians prefer poor quality products from foreign countries. The lack of a pencil policy has made Nigeria a dumping ground for poor quality pencils from some foreign countries.

“There is an urgent need for intervention funds at a single digit interest rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment wrote a letter to CBN to avail the Pencil Manufacturers Response Fund at a single digit interest rate, but unfortunately the letter did not not seen the light of day.

“It should be done as it has been done for electricity, agriculture and other sectors of the economy. CBN should please do the needful in this regard.

“There should be a pencil policy without further ado by the federal government as it has been done for cement, agriculture among others,” Ibrahim said.

He said the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) should now focus on consumables such as pencils, while ministries of education and other agencies that purchase pencils should sponsor local manufacturers of pencils. pencils.

“The government should implement local content to the letter. Diesel should be subsidized for builders.

“There is a need to raise tariffs on imported pencils without further delay so that we can look inwards as is being done in China, India to name a few,” he said. -he adds.

According to him, we need a round table with pencil manufacturers.

He said subsidies and other technical aids should be given to pencil manufacturers without further delay.

“The National Productivity Center and other relevant agencies should be operational. An agency should monitor local content compliance.

“The Ministry of Investment, Trade and Investment should work quickly with the pencil manufacturers,” he said.

Ibrahim also called for zero tariffs on imported machinery, adding that the government should encourage manufacturers to export in order to bring hard currency into the country.

He said if the necessary steps were taken to protect the industry, the company could create huge employment opportunities and transfer technology to the country for maximum economic benefits.

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