In a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) ravaging nations across the globe, the Federal Government has asked the Manufacturing sector, particularly indigenous car manufacturers, to expand their production torwards the manufacturing of Ventilators as means of boosting the country’s capacity to curtail the spread disease.
Speaking on Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adebayo, revealed that, “we are also engaging our indigenous car manufacturers at this time to prepare themselves to tweak their operations to begin the manufacture of ‘Made in Nigeria’ ventilators – critical medical equipment in the fight against the virus.”
Adebayo explained that Federal Government was working closely with the manufacturing sector to ensure the availability of essential commodities like the hand sanitiser, face masks amongst other essential items, thereby providing support for the movement raw materials for the sector even in lockdown situation.
“Make no mistake, these are critical times. As seen around the world, the coronavirus has demonstrated significant potential to disrupt health and economic activities in countries across Europe, Asia and North and South America and now Africa. This is why, in a nation like ours, where a major segment of our population live off daily wages, it is imperative that our citizens have access to essential products.
“Consequently, Mr President has directed our Ministry to 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 continues unhindered.
“To aid this process, we have established an Emergency Operation Center to monitor the supply of essential commodities. This Operation Center, which is housed in our Ministry, will 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” he explained.
The Minister stated further that, “after subsequent engagements with the leadership of MAN and NACCIMA, one critical constraint that was identified is the fact that while working to comply with the directive of Mr. President, distributors and manufacturers still had restricted movement due to the enforcement of the lockdown by the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies.
“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 recognized 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 also commended the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, “for the partnership with our Ministry, to respond appropriately to this crisis, the Aviation Ministry has availed us 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 Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and NCDC to identify and augment the list of essential goods and services.”
Adebayo also noted that, “we are working with 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 sanitizers; coveralls for our medical workers; face masks; needles; goggles; gloves; Sodium Hypo Chloride; and Digital Thermometers.”
In his response, the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ahmed Mansur, said members of the Association that are involved in the production of essential commodities in the fight against the spread of cvoronairus has expanded their production base to meet the demand.
“As I am speaking, Nigeria now has the capacity to produce over 26 million face masks in a Month,” he stated.
He equally commended the federal government for making it possible for the movement of raw materials even from outside the country to get factories manufacturing essential commodities.