The Federal Government has commenced the installation of equipment and machines for the proposed pencil factory at the Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu.
The Chairman, Governing Board of PRODA, Mr Daniel Onjeh, disclosed this on Friday in Enugu while briefing newsmen on the activities of the institute.
Onjeh said that the PRODA school pencil project was a flagship and the first of such production facility in West Africa.
He said that the factory would be producing a minimum of 15 million pencils per annum, when completed.
He said that the institute was working towards using local content, adding it had also diversified into the use of waste paper for its production.
Onjeh said: “The project is aimed at 100 per cent local content, including graphite, clay, wood and waste paper.
“We are expecting experts from China in October to install the machines that will produce pencils with waste paper.
“Pencils are in high demand, which is why we are emphasising pencil production.
“The pencil factory will create employment and also support the economic polices of the federal government.”
Onjeh further said that pencil production was not an easy venture, pointing out that getting a modern standard pencil involved about 125 steps.
He said that the test run of the machines would be done before the end of the year.
He expressed joy that PRODA had been fully revived, saying that the board was committed to moving the agency forward.
“One of the projects, which we are keenly seeing to completion is the Round House Project, which is the main edifice of the institute.
“We intend to further upgrade the monument from the institute’s allocation in the 2019 budget,” he said.
The board chairman commended the federal government for the increase in the budgetary allocations to the institute which, he said, had made their work easier.
“We noticed a remarkable increase in the funds allocated to the agency in the 2018 and 2019 budgets and we look forward to progressive increment in the coming years,” he said.
Onjeh said that the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, and the National Assembly were instrumental to the progress so far made by the institute.