By Victoria Ojeme
Federal Government says it is providing economic stimulus for the manufacturing sector as part of measures to come out of coronavirus pandemic.
Specifically, the government said about ten ventilators companies, 46 producers of hand sanitizer, among others had been assisted to boost their current capacity during the period of the lockdown.
Chairman of the Emergency Operations Centre of the Committee on Sustainable Production and Delivery of Essential Commodities during COVID-19, Tijani Inuwa, said this in Abuja yesteday during an award ceremony by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo.
Inuwa said that during the period of the interstate travel ban, the committee received and resolved 121 cases of complaints from manufacturers..
“Out of this 121 cases, about 76 per cent of the challenges related to movement of manufacturing and pharmaceutical products,” he said.
The Minister assured that the Federal Government has put in place policies to come out of the Corona Virus Pandemic very strongly against predictions of economic doom by some international bodies.
Otunba Adebayo said more support would be provided to the manufacturing and other key sectors of the economy to boost their productivity as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The EOC was responsible in monitoring the live status of transportation and delivery of essential goods during the period of interstate travel ban through which government was able to cut down on the difficulties that was faced by manufacturers, transporters, and distributors of essential commodities.
The Trade Minister commended the committee for effectively discharging their mandate, adding that based on feedbacks received during the exercise, it is now imperative that Nigeria has the capacity to produce some of the products it needed.
“For the first time in our nation, we all have to come together to tackle the vulnerability that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed
“As you all acknowledge, the lockdown that we have instituted to curb the spread of the virus resulted in a number of casualties across board as jobs were lost and supply was disrupted and led to shortfall in movement of goods and services.
“Our manufacturing sector continue to be our key focus as our economy continue to grow.
“From the market intelligence findings, more than ever before, we need to boost local production of key commodities required.
“Therefore, moving forward, our efforts as a response team at the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment has been recognised and we have been mandated to lead the Presidential Task Force responsible to deliver increased capacity in local manufacturing” he said.
The Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Mrs Mariam Katagum said the pandemic had created a consciousness among Nigerians on the need for all stakeholders to look inward in solving the economic challenges.
“From what happened during the pandemic, everyone was either producing a facemask or sanitisers.
“So what stops us after the pandemic to produce anything that we want to produce that we have the talent to do. This covid period has shown us we can achieve whatever we set out to do as a nation.”
The Permanent Secretary, FMITI, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo said that the government would do all it could to ensure that the impact of the pandemic does not cripple the economy.
“We must ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic does not cripple the economy and we must continue to produce and manufacture our products in a sustainable manner.
“The ministry has set a pace because we made sure livelihood was eased during the lockdown period” he said.