The minister of science and technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has said that the country will begin local production of pencils in the next two years.
After a facility tour of Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, Onu said the project would create over 400,000 jobs in line with the vision of the current administration.
He said that it is wrong for the country to be importing pencils when it has the capacity to produce them.
“It is unthinkable that 55 years after independence, Nigeria is still not producing pencils when we have the human and material resources in the country.
“PRODA has to produce pencils for Nigeria and they have given me the assurance that this can be done and that with pencil manufacture here, we will be creating 400,000 new jobs.
“The Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to creating new jobs and growing our economy,” he said.
The minister said that the ministry would give PRODA the necessary assistance to realise the project.
He said that the agency could do more than it is doing now, with the needed support, adding that the country could leverage on pencil production to increase its foreign earnings.
“For the information of Nigerians, pencil is not produced anywhere in West Africa, so I am directing PRODA to realise this within the next two years,” he said.
Onu said that another area of interest is in the production of Nigerian made six cylinder engines.
“The six cylinder engine is one thing they must produce.
“This is a mandate they have to work on because once we have the capacity to produce our own engine, then many of our defence and manufacturing requirements will be met.