By UbongAbasi Ise | Published in The Sensor Newspaper On Wednesday 24th May, 2017
In line with the policy thrust of the Akwa Ibom State government on industrialization, Prof. Eno Ikpe, the State Commissioner for Investment and Commerce during a one-day financial capacity building programme organized on Tuesday 28th March 2017 by her ministry for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), strongly advocated for the promotion of locally-made products. She was of the belief that if Akwa Ibom people embrace home-made products, the growth of domestic industries would be guaranteed. Prof. Ikpe could not help expressing displeasure over lack of patronage for home-made products. While describing the act as a left-over of colonial mentality, she promised to stay practical in repositioning Akwa Ibom home-grown industries for increased productivity. Given this backdrop, her promise manifested shortly as the State Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Industry held a three-day exhibition of Made in Akwa Ibom Products between Tuesday 16th and Thursday 18th May, 2017 at Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat in Uyo. Many who thronged the venue were marveled at the ingenuity of Akwa Ibom people as several indigenous inventions and products were put on display.
However, the fundamental concern the exhibition left for the state government and the citizenry is the question of expansion, entrenchment, and sustenance of this exciting domestic segment of Akwa Ibom industry and the issues regarding standardization and mass production. As the exhibition had showcased the wealth of creativity associated with the state to the world, the question now is: where does Akwa Ibom go from here?
HIGHLIGHTS OF MADE IN AKWA IBOM PRODUCTS EXHIBITION
Made in Akwa Ibom products exhibition was conducted with the theme “Promoting Made in Akwa Ibom Products for Sustainable Industrial Development”. The three-day Exhibition was not open to foreign products, and there were strong reservations and bias against products made with raw materials extremely alien to Akwa Ibom environment. This is not to say that certain products that appeared more modern were ruled out of consideration in so far they could be attributed to both indigenous producers and raw materials found locally in the state. Participants were invited from all parts of the State by Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Industry.
At the exhibition, products that were showcased included locally-made traffic light, tri-cycle, land-mower, plastic disposals, paint, furniture, fashion materials, charcoal stoves, work of arts, drugs, grinders, snacks, beverages, and so on. The Ministry’s Directorate of Commerce, which coordinated the event, provided each participating companies with sheltered stands and ensured that the exhibition ground was open, protected and accessible to members of the public.
QUESTION ON MASS PRODUCTION
One of the most basic challenges facing Akwa Ibom home-grown industries, as discovered during the exhibition, is the issue of large-scale production. This involves manufacturing of goods in large quantities using standardized designs so that the products could appear the same in sizes and qualities. One striking experience in Akwa Ibom in this regard is apparent lack of assembly line system to enable products to be manufactured in a step-by-step process.
As Akwa Ibom State is seeking sustainable development through industrialization, the system of mass production is highly essential in revolutionizing domestic industrial sector. With mass production, “the skills is built into the tool”, which implies that workers using the tool may not need the skills. Products are manufactured with a technique that moves them continuously through the arrangement of workers and machines.
For instance, the automobile industry thriving today would not have succeeded in any way if not for the adoption of mass production system. In 1808, a Swiss politician, Francois Isaac de Rivas, invented the first car powered by internal combustion engine using hydrogen as fuel. And in 1886, Germany’s Karl Benz followed with a petrol-powered automobile, and attempted within his capacity to make identical productions. But it was in 1913 that the owner of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford in United States, introduced the concept of mass production in the area of automobile – a development which was largely responsible for the emergence, growth and expansion of industrialized and commercially-based system we have today.
ON CAPITAL AND ACCESS TO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Funding is one major aspect of challenge in setting up an enterprise in Akwa Ibom and elsewhere in the country. Without financial capacity, producers and unable to buy raw materials, equipments, acquire additional man-power and carry out basic marketing activities.
However, one of the major financial institutions closer to indigenous manufacturers and producers is the Bank of Industry. This bank was established in October 2001 following the reorganization of the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) which had been in existence since 1964. During the financial capacity-building programme held in March 2017 at Skycap Accommodations in Uyo, which was organized at the instance of Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Industry, Mr. Richard Imonije of Bank of Industry, who was one of the resource persons, brainstormed on ways the Bank could render its mandate of financial assistance. These include expansion of an existing projects, assistance in modernization, and rehabilitation of ailing industries. Imonije further revealed that criteria used in selecting projects centres on projects that use largely domestic raw materials; industries in which Nigeria’s comparative advantages could be converted to competitive ones; venture that promoted inter-state or regional integration; SMEs that have linkage with large firms, belong to clusters, operating under Franchise; enterprises with high employment generation capacity; the project must be technically feasible, commercially viable and economically desirable; projects that are environmentally friendly; enterprises that have good management set-up and proper accounting procedures; and enterprises promoted by women entrepreneurs.
The Stanbic IBTC Manager, Uyo Branch, Mr. Emana Edem, another resource person at the financial capacity building programme, said that providing collateral as one of the conditions for obtaining loan from commercial bank is not as important as the capacity to consistently run the account with the banks. He said that his bank, and some other commercial banks, can grant loan for applicants whose bank statements show rapid turn-over irrespective of where they are banking.
SOME PRODUCERS AT MADE IN AKWA IBOM EXHIBITION
The Sensor has picked and presented some of the indigenous producers and their companies whose products were exceptionally fascinating and exciting.
Alpha Technical services
Alpha 1 technical Services is one indigenous company that deals in services ranging from manufacturing of traffic light control panels, automatic change over, industrial automation, instrumentation/controls, electrical installations, power plants/heavy duties, biomedical engineering, and solar power supply and control.
At the exhibition, the company put on display, a traffic light system with defaulter’s alarm described by the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Ndotenyin Ekanem, as the first ever made in Nigeria. According to Ekanem, who is a graduate of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, he was motivated to come out with such invention because he found people violating traffic rules.
“Coming out of school, I discovered that people were disobeying our traffic lights, and at the time, many traffic lights were faulty. Besides, most of those lights were imported while the expatriates that fixed them had gone back to their home countries. That became a challenge to me, and I then went on a research and came out with an innovation on traffic light system that has a defaulter’s alarm,” he said.
Mr. Ndotenyin Ekanem further called on the State Ministry of Works to come in and evaluate the suitability of the traffic light system and other products offered by Alpha 1 Technical Services.
He maintained that the traffic light are locally-made while pointing out that the prototype on display at exhibition was made with raw materials largely available in Akwa Ibom State with less than 10% of foreign elements. Ekanem revealed that his company, for now, has employed not fewer than 25 Akwa Ibom youths, and engaged them in facility maintenance project.
Compay address: Unit 1, Technology Centre, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Nung Oku, Uyo.
Phone: 08033770011, 08050544455.
Faduk Resources Industries
Faduk is indigenous company that has been in operation in Akwa Ibom since the end of 2013. The company has a plastic injection moulding factory and a high-speed machine for the production of micro-wave oven, safe disposables, take-away plates, serving trays, square plates, spoons, forks, knives and cups. Most of them include souvenir items for events.
Speaking with our correspondent, the Human Resources Manager of the Company, Mr. Justice Ngadaonye, said that sources of raw materials used by the company are 100% local.
“There are raw materials within the South-South zone, and basically petro-chemical compounds which we used for the production of plastic,” he said.
According to the Human Resources Manager, the company, based on the rate it is operating at the moment, has 50 persons in its pay-roll, and over 45 of them are from Akwa Ibom State. He held that the company believes in indigenization. Mr. Justice was at the exhibition with Mr. Charles Nsima (Administration officer) and Ms Essiet (The Assistant Business Development Manager).
Contact: Kilometer 16, Airport Road, Uyo.
Peacock Paints Limited
Peacock paints is one of the ten companies established by Late Dr. Clement Isong during his time as the governor of old Cross River State, (that is, between 1979 and 1983). Out of those ten industries established then, it is only the Peacock Paints that still survives today. At inception, the company was known as Cross River Paints until the time it was sold to private investors, and the name was then changed to Peacock Paints Limited. The company is a subsidiary of Dyrup of Denmark, although it has been taken over by Akwa Ibom State Government.
Peacock Paints deals in the production of emulsion paints, primers, emulsion paints, satin paints, screeding putty, screeding paints, texcoat, car paint/coatings, marine paints, and decorative paints. The company stormed the venue of the exhibition with variety of its products.
In his interaction with our correspondent, the Sales Executive of the company, Mr. Isuaeduek Iniodu, said that since 2015 when Governor Udom Emmanuel resuscitated the company, Peacock Paints has gone into full paint production. Mr. Iniodu made reference to State Secretariat Annex at Udo Udoma in Uyo where the entire building structures were painted and designed with the company’s products. He further revealed that marine paints used by Exxon Mobil in painting underwater pipes are mainly Peacock products.
Speaking on the productive strength of Peacock Paint Limited, Iniodu said that the factory was installed with the capacity to produce about 3 million metric tons of paints per year.
The Sales Executive official disclosed that the employees at the company are all from Akwa Ibom.
Peacock Paints has its main office at Ikot Ekan in Etinan, and a Colour Centre at Plot 93 D Line, Itiam Ewet Housing Estate in Uyo. It also has a depot at 108 Aka Road, Uyo. According to Mr. Mr. Isuaeduek Iniodu, Peacock Paint would soon have branch offices at Calabar and Port Harcourt.
Hero Technical Works
Hero Technical Works is the dealer and manufacturer of tri-motorcycle, powered wheel chair, recreation/sports equipments, palm oil processing mill with nut/fibre separator, hammer mill, heavy duty feed mixer, garri/cassava flour processing mill, mobile kernel cracker/grinder, cassava and yam pounding machine, steel doors, gates, and so on.
One of the numerous works that profoundly caught the attention of many at the recent exhibition was a tricycle built by Hero Technical Works. The chief executive officer of the company, Elder Ime James Akpan a.k.a. Hero 1, said that the first creation of its kind was put on road test from Abak to Calabar in 1978.
Speaking exclusively to The Sensor, the inventor said that he had used a tricycle to partake in a march-past at U.J. Esuene Stadium, and it was witnessed by the then governor of Cross River State, late Dr. Clement Isong.
“The tricycle, christened Hero 1 after my nickname, was constructed far back in 1978, and was put up in a road test from Abak to Calabar. I later joined a march-past at U.J. Esuene Stadium where late Dr. Clement Isong mounted a guard of honour.
“Coming back, all the effort made to massively produce and commercialize it proved abortive owing to lack of financial capacity.
“This was an idea God had given to us which was like gold and silver, but unfortunately for us, we see the foreigners picking up the idea and massively produce KEKE NAPEP back to us,”
While commending the state government for organizing the made in Akwa Ibom exhibition, Akpan advised that talents discovered should not be wasted.
He said, “I hope this exhibition being executed by our present governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel would not bear the semblance of past exhibitions that only ended up presenting our ideas for foreigners to adopt and mass produce for us”, said Elder Akpan.
Contact: Eka Offiong Ekpor, Opposite Faith Tabernacle Church, Etim Ekpo LGA.
El Siena Ventures is an indigenous enterprise that basically use raffia palm and other domestic raw materials to produce incredible suitcases, conference bags, shoes, belts purses, kits, mirrors, hand fans, and stools and several other items.
El-Siena’s Chief executive officer, Mr. Elias Akpan, told our correspondent at the exhibition grounds that his talent for creating those items flows naturally as he lacks any formal training in the field.
“All what I am doing have not been taught. I don’t have any formal training. It is just a natural talent, and I have passion in doing it, and it gives me joy whenever I can create them,” said the gifted craftsman.
He stated that his major challenge has to do with shortages of raffia palm, and called for government to also consider cultivating raffia palm plantation to boost commercialization as many areas in the state are endowed with this kind of craft.
Mr. Elias Akpan said that he has been training many Akwa Ibom people in the craftsmanship every year, and that students from University of Uyo are learning entrepreneurial skills under his tutelage year in year out.
Contact: 29 Obio Enang, off Itam Junction, Idoro Road – Uyo.
Phone: 08028523392, 07034966174
Jane Afrik Signature
This is where to have a true test of African culture. Jane Afrik deals with African arts, raffia crafts, traditional wears, internal/exterior decoration, marriage accessories and event planning.
Like her father, Mr. Elias Akpan, beautiful Miss Janet Elias Essien, had displayed mind-blowing designer’s items with African touch at the Exhibition grounds.
Janet, highly-skilled in craftsmanship, said her talent flows in her blood, and she was born into this profession.
“Actually, I was born into this. My father started it; but I have also brought in my own innovation into it. So, it is something that flows in my blood,” she said.
Janet said that since some people in the state tend to have reservation on domestic products, she has been travelling extensively across the country to sell her goods.
Janet said she has been producing manually, and it has been consuming her energy. She therefore called on government to provide her with grant so that she could be able to mass-produce and employ more hands.
Contact: 36A Obio Enang Street, Off Idoro Road, Uyo.
Phone: 07062247410, 07018363331
This company, at the exhibition, had excited spectators with amazing clean-cook stoves that does not stain the pot.
This locally-made stove uses charcoal as fuel. According to staff of Tropical Centre, Mr. Bassey Akpan, “these stoves are made in Akwa Ibom, and it is in line with dakadda philosophy of Udom Emmanuels’s administration. The stoves are excellent in cooking; they do not stain the pots because they emit no smoke, and they are environmental-friendly.”
The company also supplies its customers with charcoal and firewood.
Mr. Ukpongke Nkanta is the managing director of Tropical Centre. The company can be located at 41 Oron Road in Uyo.
Phone: 08067596435, 07083962468
Contact UbongAbasi Ise on 08189914609 | firstname.lastname@example.org