As part efforts to bring succour to the Nigerian people during the Lockdown period, the thirty-six States Governors of Nigeria have thrown their weight behind food, beverage, pharmaceutical and healthcare companies towards ensuring continuous operations and making essential goods and services available to the citizenry.
The governors said the decision to back the constant flow of essential goods and services was necessary to ensure that the lockdown remedy does not ultimately turn out to be counter-productive.
In a letter to the manufacturers, signed by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, the governors noted that “considering the crucial role you play in ensuring the production of essential items such as nutritious food, beverages, medical and pharmaceutical products considered critical for the sustenance and well-being of individuals and families especially in these times, and following careful and deliberate consideration we are pleased toconvey to you our full support to ensure that your operations continue unhindered.”
“To guarantee the continued effective and efficient movement of essential foods, beverages and medical supplies as well as attendant essential services, the governors further stated, “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 and to the extent that current realities permit.”
The governors said in the letter, that lending their support to these key players in the industry whose products are critical to the daily existence of the Nigerian people, they would need some waiver to continue to move their products around the country without let or hinderance.
Knowing the essential nature of food, beverage and pharmaceuticals most especially at this crucial time, the governors advised that 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.
The Nigerian governors noted in the letter that there was need 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.
“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;
“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;
“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”. the governors added.
However, governors also included a caveat in order to regulate the operations and forestall abuse, saying that similarly, all Food, Beverage, Pharmaceutical and Medical Companies are required to adhere to the following:
a) Issue all suppliers and transporters a letter of authority confirming that they are authorized by you.
b) All your staff need to ensure IDs are carried at all time for all movements, with a copy of this letter of authority
c) 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.
The suppliers and their operators are to be provided with TOLLFREE numbers they can call, just in case they have any problems or bottlenecks during the course of performing their duties, stressing that governors are working assiduously to ensure unhindered flow of essential goods and services.