…Plastic, pen production machines arrive Uyo

Abasifreke Effiong

Government Advisor on the Akwa Ibom Employment and Enterprise Scheme,(AKEES) Engr. Ufot Ebong has said modalities have been worked by management of the AKEES pencil and toothpick factory to clear arrears of salary owed workers in the company.

Ebong said the delay in payment of salary by the company which was a year and three months old last month, December 2017, was because management needed to save money to procure a bigger dryer for large scale production.

He announced that the company has procured and installed a bigger dryer that will enable it to meet up deadlines for very large supply contracts.

“The company had many supply contracts and needed a bigger drying machine for the pencils and toothpick, but management couldn’t afford to get a loan for that purpose, so it had to save money to procure the machine.

“That a company which began test-running in October 2016 has been able to save part of its revenue to buy and install a new component barely a year after its commenced operations is a significant pointer that it is making progress”, Ebong added.

The AKEES pencil and toothpick factory set up by the Akwa Ibom State Government and run by a private management, is self-sustaining. Management generates funds from sales for production and salaries.

“Workers in the factory are not civil servants; but the management of the company is supervised by government to ensure that managers comply with ownership- management agreements”, the government advisor explained.

Ebong said government was aware that the company closed operations on December 22 to allow workers travel for the Christmas break, and management was sourcing for money to pay workers’ outstanding salaries at resumption of work this month.

He emphasized that modalities are worked out for the payment, thanked workers in the factory for their cooperation with management.

Ebong who is also Adviser Bureau of Technical Matters and Due Process allayed rumours that the factory had shut-down operations indefinitely.

He said, instead the second phase of the manufacturing line which will include the production of plastics and biro pen will commence this month.

“The good news for Akwa Ibom people is that the company is adding a new production line for manufacturing of plastics and pen”, Ebong hinted.

Machines for the production line arrived Uyo yesterday January 11.

Ebong said the new production line will be ready within a month.

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