By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government says it has put in place sound policies that would ensure the nation’s economy emerges stronger from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
The government said major support would be provided to the manufacturing and other key sectors of the economy to boost productivity.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, made this known in Abuja while presenting awards to members of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) of the Committee on Sustainable Production and Delivery of Essential Commodities during COVID-19.
The EOC was saddled with the responsibility of monitoring transportation and delivery of essential goods during ban on interstate travel to cut down on the spread of the dreaded virus.
The minister commended the committee for effectively discharging its mandate, adding that based on feedback received during the exercise, it is now imperative that Nigeria has the capacity to produce some of the products it needed.
His words: “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 acknowledged, 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 continues to be our key focus as our economy continues 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.”
Also speaking at the event, 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,” Katagum said.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr 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.
Chairman of the EOC, Tijani Inuwa, the Manager Engr. Battah Ndirpaya and the Lead, Abimbola Olufore commended the Ministry for the support given to the team during the assignment.
The AUTHORITY reports that during the period of the interstate travel ban, the EOC received and resolved 121 cases of complaints.
Also, about ten ventilators companies, 46 producers of hand sanitizers, among others, were said to have been assisted to boost their production capacities during the lockdown period.