A coconut refining factory in Akwa Ibom State will create 1,300 direct jobs when completed in September, the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, has said.
Also, more than 3,000 people would be employed indirectly by the factory, according to Mr Emmanuel.
The governor disclosed this on Friday while inspecting the St. Gabriel Coconut Factory in Mkpat Enin.
The factory is owned by the Akwa Ibom State Government.
He expressed satisfaction with the project and said it would help in technology transfer to people in the state and also help to boost the state economy.
Mr Emmanuel, according to a Government House statement, blamed the delay in the completion of the project on the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, called on youths of the area to support the government’s industrialisation programmes and protect the facility from being vandalised by hoodlums.
“If you check some of these units, there is a combination of Asian and European technology.
“We still need those Indians because a lot of them will take up training our locals and they will also take part in technology transfer to our locals. So our prayer is that the (COVID-19) situation in Indian improves so they can be allowed to travel and interact with other people.
“We should be able to troubleshoot certain things, for example once we are not processing coconut, we should also have a production line that can process palm kernel oil without changing a pan because we are very rich in palm kernels in this region,” Mr Emmanuel said.
Meanwhile, the project’s consultant of the project, Francis Uwah, who conducted the governor round different units in the factory said the by-products from the factory like oil will be further repackaged and sold in shops and supermarkets. He said other companies will be attracted to handle the packaging.
The factory has the capacity of processing 300,000 coconuts per shift which will produce 66 tons in a day from the three shifts, said Ganze Aydingenc, an architect with VKS Company which is handling the construction of the factory.
Akwa Ibom, like several other states in Nigeria, is grappling with a high rate of unemployment.
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