By James Emejo
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, Wednesday said the federal government will boost the current intervention support to the manufacturing and key sectors of the economy to improve their productivity amidst the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the government has also evolved quality policies to help emerge from the pandemic more strongly against predictions of economic doom by some international agencies.
Speaking while awarding members of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) of the Committee on Sustainable Production and Delivery of Essential Commodities during Covid-19, the minister emphasised the need to boost local production of key commodities going forward.
He said: “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 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, the Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Mrs. Mariam Katagum, said the pandemic has created a consciousness among Nigerians on the need for all stakeholders to look inward in solving the economic challenges.
She said: “From what happened during the pandemic, everyone was either producing masks 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-19 period has shown us we can achieve whatever we set out to do as a nation.”
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. 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.
However, the Chairman of the EOC, Tijani Inuwa, said during the period of the inter state travel ban, the committee received and resolved 121 cases of complaints of which about 76 per cent of the challenges are related to movement of manufacturing and pharmaceutical products.
He said about 10 ventilator companies, 46 producers of hand sanitizers, among others, were assisted to boost their current capacity during the period of the lockdown.