Despite Assurances, Bayelsa Plastic Industry Goes Under

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Vandalised machines

The Bayelsa State Plastic Industry located at Elebele is in a terrible state of disrepair and inactivity despite several promises by Governor Douye Diri-led’s administration to revive it.

The dilapidated condition of the factory was discovered during an independent fact-finding tour by members of the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council.

It will be recalled that Gov. Diri, after his inauguration, had given repeated assurances to revamp the state-owned plastic industry as part of his government’s industrialisation policy to boost the local economy and create employment opportunities.

During the facility tour, it was observed that the factory was in a state of comatose and no manufacturing of pipes was going on.

It was also observed that the premises of the plastic industry were deserted and several machines had been reportedly vandalized, while some equipment in unviable condition littered the warehouse.

Investigation showed that in March 2021, the state government through the Ministry of Power provided a 500KVA generator for the factory as part of the revival process but the effort collapsed as the facility did not come on stream.

It was also gathered that the managing director of the plastic industry, Norman Niweigha, had sought the partnership of a German firm, U&H Integrated Services Limited to rehabilitate it but the deal was not sealed.

Niweigha could not be reached for comments as he did not answer calls to his phone or respond to enquiries on the bad condition of the industry.

However, the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito, said the government was aware of the abandoned plastic industry, adding that

“I know. I’m aware of that. You have gone to see it? I’m on it. I’m handling it, don’t worry,” he said.

The plastic industry, with installed production capacity of 1,500 pipes daily, was established by the administration of former governor Timipre Sylva, now Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, to manufacture Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes.

The Sylva administration, in September 2011, claimed to have started sale of pipes valued at N5 million, but the industry became degraded afterwards.

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