…Pays outstanding salaries
Posted by Tony Okechukwu
Work has resumed at the Toothpick and Pencil Factory of Akwa Ibom State Enterprise and Employment Scheme (AKEES), after a Christmas break, embarked upon by management and staffers of the Factory.
Our source reports that the Factory, located at Kilometre One, Ekom Iman Road in Uyo, resumed yesterday, with payment of outstanding salaries to workers.
Speaking shortly after disbursement of the salaries, the General Manager of the Factory, Mr Friday Bassey, attributed the delay in payment of salary to negligence of the company’s distributors to repay their debt on time, saying, it affected the Factory’s financial standing.
Continuing, Mr Bassey refuted widespread media reports that the Factory had shutdown for months, and cautioned people against attaching what he described as political sentiments to government policies, especially, the Factory, which he said is not good for the image of the Company.
“The news that we shut down is not true. On the 23rd of December, we closed for Christmas Break, we asked workers to go and rest. But there are insinuations that we had closed down for some months now, that there has been no production for several months. But that is a lie from the pit of hell.
“People should stop attaching political sentiments to everything, His Excellency the Governor has done. I can authoritatively state that he has done marvellously well to establish this Factory”, he said.
He further revealed that Tech Point on December 18, 2017, during its tour of Technological outfits in the South South region, scored the Factory high, in production and machineries, but however wondered how people could insinuate that the Factory had closed about four months ago.
“By December 18, 2017, Tech Point visited AKEES Toothpick and Pencil Factory, when they were undertaking their technological tour of the South South Region, our Factory is one of the places they visited and they saw what is going on here and were very happy, that this is the first functional Toothpick and Pencil Factory in Nigeria. But people are saying that we have shut down, that is not true. Well, we are young and we expect those challenges”, he added.
He pointed out that the factory which is a year and three months old has procured and installed a bigger dryer that will enable them to meet up production deadlines, for large supply contracts, saying the procurement was done with the factory’s profits, not loan.
“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”, Bassey hinted.
One of the staffers of the Factory, Mrs Aniekan Akpan frowned at the rumour that the company had closed down, saying those behind what she called ‘deadly reports’, should refrain from it.
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process, Elder Ufot Ebong, said plans are under way to reviewing the management structure of the Factory for greater productivity, hinting that the company with the workforce of 73 excluding others across the value chain has helped to reduce unemployment and youth restiveness in the State, to a greater extent.