By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo disclosed that the Federal Government is working assiduously to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 lockdown through sustainable production, transportation and distribution of essential products such as food, medical, pharmaceutical and agro-allied products continue unhindered throughout the period of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The Minister stated this at his weekly update on the performance of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) of the Committee on Sustainable Production and Delivery of Essential Commodities During COVID-19 in Abuja.
He said despite initial challenges faced as a result of Inter-State border closure by some states Governors, the ministry is constantly engaging relevant stakeholders to ensure free-flow of essential cargo within the country and at the ports of arrival.
“I am happy to announce that we have also set up a Post C-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”. Adebayo Added.
He said,” as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari in a National Broadcast and to ensure that our economy adapts to this new reality, my Ministry will be collaborating with the Communication and Digital Economy Ministry, the Science and Technology Ministry, the Ministry of Transportation and Aviation, the Ministry of Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Labour and Employment as well as Education to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for a Nigerian 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”.
The Minister applauded the efforts of EOC members in their prompt response in resolving incidences that will hinder the free flow of Essential Commodities, saying 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 FMITI” he added.
Also speaking, the Minister of State, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum said that as an offshoot of the Committee on Sustainable Production/Delivery of Essential Commodities (SPEC) the Ministry established an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to monitor the supply of Essential Commodities nationwide adding that, the Operation Centre, which is housed at the FMITI, monitors the live status of 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.
“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. 68% of these interventions are logistics related, and about 20% of the interventions are market Intelligence issues where we have been able to pair supply and demand to keep production afloat. Other requests had to do with direct manufacturing operations and some requests were retail related”.
“We implore Nigerians to be resilient and remain calm and positive as we tackle this unprecedented pandemic as she assured that the Ministry in collaboration with all the critical stakeholders will continue to ensure that the impact of this on the economy and on households across the country is significantly reduced”. Katagum added.
In his vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, mni appreciated the Leadership qualities of the two Ministers” if we didn’t have this kind of Leadership, we wouldn’t have been where we are today” Gwarzo added.
He also extended his appreciation to all relevant stakeholders such as; National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) Abuja and other Media Organizations across the country for their support and cooperation at this critical period of COVID-19 Psandemic.
The Permanent Secretary further said as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility NACCIMA donated a 22.5 KVA Generator to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Isolation Centre through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to be presented by the Minister, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, CON on behalf of the organisation.