*Says Many Companies May Close Down
As the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) gets set to disburse the N50billion COVID-19 stimulus package for households and small businesses the President Of the United Furniture Dealers Association Of Nigeria Prince Emeka Egwuekwe has called on the Federal Government to include its members in the package to save the industry.
This is as he stated that the furniture manufacturing industry has lost over N600million during the COVID-19 lockdown noting that if care is not taken a lot of companies will shut down after the pandemic.
Speaking in Abuja on Sunday where he distributed the COVID-19 palliatives to various Communities in the Federal Capital Territory and his home Community Enugu-Agidi Egwuekwe who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Of Prince Interior Furniture and Furnishing Company LTD said the palliatives was part of his corporate social responsibility and giving back to the society.
The Communities in the FCT that benefitted from the palliatives which includes food stuffs, bags of rice and noddles, hand sanitizers, face masks and money are Kugbo 1 and Kugbo 11 Communities and the furniture market.
Egwuekwe while commending the Federal Government on its efforts to contain the virus and alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians just as he charged the government and its agencies especially the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, the Ministry of Finance and the Presidential Task Force on COVID 19 to display transparency and accountability in the disbursement of palliatives and conditional cash transfer to millions of poor Nigerians to alleviate the hardship necessitated by the COVID 19 lockdown.
According to Egwuekwe, the Apakata Onyii Of Enugwu-Agidi “the Government should look into our sector, the furniture industry as if care is not taken a lot of furniture dealers would go out of business after this COVID-19 pandemic, as the President of the United Furniture Association Of Nigeria I want the government to look at ways of including members in the CBN N50billion COVID-19 intervention loan, our members need this bailout loan as the furniture industry provides over 6,000 jobs if you go to Kugbo furniture market you will discover over 6,000 Nigerians making their living from the market.
“I tell you that after this COVID-19 a lot of companies will go extinct as most of our raw materials are imported from China, and since we have not been able to import for sometime and the companies are not working. So I am pleading with the Federal Government to include us in the bailout funds. We have lost over N600million not only in revenue this market has lost over N600million because of the lockdown. The business aspect is closed people are crying and this is happening when the year is just picking so many imported goods but cannot clear it and others cannot replace their stock as I speak so many are still loosing so much money as they cannot get their goods or bill of lading to clear the goods we are in quagmire and calling for government intervention to save our businesses” he declared.
Egwuekwe notes that he would continue to give to the society, particularly the poor and the less privileged as part of his social responsibility and in response to their needs.
He had earlier provided about 12, 000 bottles of hand sanitisers to the communities.
He Is also creating awareness on the pandemic in the communities and churches through radio jingles in Igbo and English Languages, as well as mobilise health officials to enlighten the people on the necessary precautions to be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.