–Mr Muideen Ibrahim, Managing Director, BAMIB Resources and Investment Company Limited, has called on the Federal Government to support the company to increase its production to 450 million of pencil dozen per annual.

Ibrahim said in Abuja that the company currently produced 2.4 million dozen per annual.

He also urged the Federal Government should provide facility and enabling environment for the company to expand its production.

“You know what we call economy of scale; when we have facility, we can scale up and that can bring the price down so that we can use that to compete with favourbly with our foreign competitors.

“Four hundred and fifty million dozen production per annual means that we are going to increase our staff strength, double or even triple our capacity with respect to production and staff strength.

“Also, it will in turn create employment, address the dearth of pencil and help the country to stop the importation of the product,’’ he said.

Ibrahim quoted Prof. Godwin Onuoha, Director- General, Project Development Agency, as saying, “It is estimated that over N750 billion is spent on importing pencils into Nigeria annually.

“There is a dearth of school pencils for the implementation of most educational programmes of states and federal.”

He also said that by supporting the company in all ramifications, it would go a long way to give the company leverage to compete in the global market.

“The Chinese government encourages manufacturers in China in all ramifications, hence they are exporting to various countries in the world and this is contributing significantly to the revenue of China.

“We urge our government to emulate China so that we can diversify from oil that is now seriously depleted.

“The focus all over the world is no longer on oil because there are now so many alternatives to oil.

“Also, Indian Government came up with a policy to encourage indigenous companies and use their products; they have a slogan, “Live in India and buy Indian products.’’

He said that company would need N685 million to actualise the production target, adding that meeting the target would make the company diversify to production of allied products such as sharpener and eraser.

Ibrahim listed some of the challenges facing pencil production as stiff competition from the imported pencils, lack of raw materials, poor infrastructure, lack of fund and access to loan.

“Also, craze for imported goods by Nigerians, unfriendly business environment, administrative burden, multiple taxation, lack of trade mission, lack of encouragement and high interest rate among others,’’ he said.

BAMIB Resources and Investment Company Limited, which started production on August 1, 2018 is first indigenous pencil manufacturing company in Lagos state and second in the country. (NAN)

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