By Emmanuella Anokam
The Federal Government has said it is working assiduously to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 lockdown through sustainable production, transportation and distribution of essential products.
A statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Mr Ibrahim Haruna, Deputy Director, Press, quoted the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, as saying this at his weekly update on the performance of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adebayo is the Chairman of EOC of the Committee on Sustainable Production and Delivery of Essential Commodities during COVID-19 in Abuja.
The minister, who listed the essential products as food, medical, pharmaceutical and agro-allied products, said production and distribution would continue unhindered throughout the period of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
He said that despite the initial challenges faced as a result of inter-state border closure by some governors, the ministry was constantly engaging stakeholders to ensure free-flow of essential cargoes within the country and at the ports of arrival.
“I am happy to announce that we have also set up a Post-COVID-19 Industry, Trade and Investment Sustainability Committee that will review the FMITI goals and propose strategic adjustments after applying lessons learnt and recommendations from the COVID-19 outbreak.
“As directed by President Muhammadu Buhari in his national broadcast and to ensure that our economy adapts to this new reality, my ministry will be collaborating with other ministries.
“We will collaborate with the Ministries of Communication and Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Transportation and Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Education, Labour and Employment to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for an economy functioning with COVID-19.
“This committee, as directed by Mr President, will be supported by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and the Economic Sustainability Committee in executing its mandate,” he said.
The minister applauded the prompt response of EOC members in resolving incidences that could hinder the free flow of essential commodities.
“They have not only done very well in representing the ministry, they have also been proactive in projecting the ministry as well as representing it at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
“Now, we are a force to reckon with; it is a fact that a special committee has been set up, which is headed by the ministry,” he added.
Also speaking, the Minister of State in the ministry, Amb. Mariam Katagum, said that as an offshoot of the Committee on Sustainable Production/Delivery of Essential Commodities (SPEC), the ministry had established the EOC to monitor the supply of essential commodities nationwide.
Katagum added that the centre, located within the ministry, was saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the live status of transportation and delivery of essential goods to reduce the difficulties being faced by manufacturers, transporters and distributors of commodities nationwide.
“The committee has received a total number of 55 requests for intervention across the country, 54 of which have been resolved at the level of the committee.
“Sixty-eight percent of these interventions are logistics-related, while about 20 percent are market intelligence issues where we have been able to pair supply and demand to keep production afloat.
“Other requests have to do with direct manufacturing operations and some others retail-related,” she added.
She implored Nigerians to be resilient and remain calm and positive as the nation tackled the pandemic.
According to her, the ministry, in collaboration with all the critical stakeholders, will continue to ensure that the impacts of the pandemic on the economy and households across the country were significantly reduced.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, appreciated the leadership qualities of the two ministers.
He appreciated the support of the National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), and Commerce and Industry Correspondents’ Association of Nigeria (CICAN), among others.
The permanent secretary disclosed that NACCIMA, as part of its corporate social responsibility, donated a 22.5 KVA generator to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) isolation centre through the ministry. (NAN)