The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), has established an emergency operation centre to monitor the supply of essential commodities during the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister of industry, trade and investment,Otumba Adeniyi Adebayo, who made this disclosure during a media briefing in Abuja, said that the centre which is housed in the ministry, would help to monitor the real-time status of the transportation and delivery of essential goods to cut down on the difficulties being faced by manufacturers, transporters, and distributors of essential commodities across the country.
“As we work to deliver on these key objectives, there has been a dedicated secretariat in place – of men and women from the public and private sectors – who have been working round the clock to ensure that truckloads of food, drugs and other essential items get to their points of destination across the nation,” he said, adding that a Committee on the Sustainable Production and Delivery of Essential Commodities during the COVID-19 Pandemic had also been set up
Noting that this followed a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari, that the ministry work with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Nigerian Traders Association (NANTS), and other affiliated stakeholders to guarantee that the production of essential items like food, medical and pharmaceutical products continued unhindered, Adebayo also disclosed that following subsequent engagement with the MAN and NACCIMA, the ministry identified that there were still constraints to the compliance with the directive of Mr President Muhammadu Buhari, as distributors and manufacturers still had restricted movement due to the enforcement of the lockdown by the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies.
But he stressed that a close collaboration between the ministry and the security agencies had ensured that all legitimate requests from the secretariat that had been set up were promptly cleared.
“In this regard, I would like to thank the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, for his cooperation, and the assistance of his men in ensuring that all legitimate requests from the Secretariat that we have set up are promptly cleared.
“ What this means is that the raw material needs of our manufacturers are being met; and recognised road transporters of essential goods are able to transport goods.This synergy, between our law enforcement agencies, our essential manufacturers and producers and the ministry, has allowed us to be able to meet critical demands at this time,”he said.
Adebayo also said the ministry had been partnering with the ministry of aviation under the leadership of Senator Hadi Sirika, for the use of a number of aircraft to facilitate the movement of essential products and personnel across the nation.
“Additionally, the personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service, under the able leadership of Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, must also be singled out at this pivotal juncture in our nation’s history, for their work in ensuring the free-flow of essential cargo through our ports to the final destinations across the country.
“Furthermore, as we brace ourselves to respond effectively and thoroughly to this crisis, we have been engaging with the Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), and NCDC to identify and augment the list of essential goods and services,” he added.
The minister said his ministry was also working with the SON and NAFDAC to ensure the acceleration of the issuance of certificates of standards of essential items without sacrificing the quality of these items. Such items include hand sanitisers, coveralls for medical workers, face masks, needles, goggles, gloves, sodium hypo chloride, and digital thermometers.
According to Adebayo, the ministry was also engaging indigenous car manufacturers like Innoson, to begin the manufacture of made- in- Nigeria ventilators – a critical medical equipment in the fight against the virus.
“With the support of the NCDC, we have also embarked on the training of emergency COVID-19 volunteers – who now have the requisite skills to handle emergencies in the workplace,” he added.
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