The 36 governors who constitute the Nigeria Governors forum (NGF) on Tuesday assured manufacturers in the country that the restriction of movement across the various states will not be enforced to obstruct their operations in the factories.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), in a letter to the manufacturers signed by the Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State promise to guarantee continuous operations of the manufacturers during the period of lockdown.
Fayemi in a statement by the NGF Secretariat Head of Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, on Tuesday in Abuja, indicated that governors will guarantee continuous production operations for food, beverage, pharmaceutical and healthcare.
The statement indicated that the governors are committed to providing essential goods and services to citizens during the lockdown period.
“Considering the crucial role played by manufacturers in ensuring the production of essential items, following careful and deliberate consideration, we are pleased to convey to you our full support to ensure that your operations continue unhindered,” the governors had declared.
The governors also indicated commitment to providing palliatives to Nigerians to ensure the interventionist lockdown does not become counter-productive. Thus, the governors approve movement of foods, beverages and medical supplies, including personnel for essential services.
The statement read in part: “We note that the whole value chain from farmers to suppliers of raw materials, from manufacturers to suppliers of packaging materials, transporters, distributors, sales teams and retailers should continue with their lawful operations within the confines of the law.”
It added: “In view of the essential nature of food, beverage and pharmaceuticals, all Parastatals and agencies of state governments have been advised as follows:
“To guarantee the continued effective and efficient movement of essential foods, beverages and medical supplies as well as attendant essential services.
“The whole value chain from farmers to suppliers of raw materials, from manufacturers to suppliers of packaging materials, transporters, distributors, sales teams and retailers should continue with their lawful operations within the confines of law and to the extent that current realities permit.
“(a) The operations and activities of food, beverages, medical and pharmaceutical product companies and their suppliers of raw and packaging materials, transporters, distributors, sales team and retailers should not be hindered by officials or agents of the State Governments.
“(b) To ensure the safety of food, beverages, medical and pharmaceutical products and also that of the suppliers of raw and packaging materials, transporters, distributors, sales teams, retailers and other employees who will be on the road during this time;
“(c) To guarantee that the distribution and movement of raw and packaging materials and finished products of food, beverages, medical and pharmaceutical products from various points within and across States is seamless;
“(d) That in the event of closure of open markets or shops, clear alternatives are defined on how to get finished food, beverage and pharmaceutical products to consumers in their neighbourhoods;
“(e) The responsiveness of relevant agencies of the State Governments in playing their part fully in ensuring that what they need to do as prescribed by the law and extant regulations are carried out with dispatch.”
To avoid abuse of the exemption, the governors advised manufacturers to observe the following:
”Issue all suppliers and transporters a letter of authority confirming that they are authorised by you.
“All your staff need to ensure Identity Cards are carried at all time for all movements, with a copy of this letter of authority.
“All organisations to ensure compliance to all COVID-19 guidelines on social distancing, personal and respiratory hygiene for the safety of individuals and the community at large.”