Lagos State will not be completely ‘lockdown’, in spite of the earlier directive of the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as Government and Nigeria Employers Consultative Assembly (NECA) agree on synergy, to ensure sustainability of the food supply chain.
NECA members who confirmed this development told the Maritime First that the decision followed a March 25th NECA meeting with Governor Sanwo-Olu in respect of COVID -19 up.
Other decisions subsequently taken at the meeting were as follow:
That though there would be the increased military presence (army, police, navy, air force and other paramilitary organisations), particularly on the roads, beginning from today, so as to ensure compliance, the State nonetheless will only be on ‘slow down’, rather than on complete lockdown.
The intention, it was learnt was to guarantee the availability of essential materials, while all non-essentials are truly taken out of the street.
Strongly represented by about 24 participants, the NECA posted a list which included the PZCN, (who were physically represented by Oliver Omajuwa and Mr Kayode); and also the FMCG & Pharmaceutical companies.
Others were Nestle, Unilever, Nigeria Breweries, Frischland, Promascido, Flourmill, Honeywell Flourmill, Spar, Niemeth Pharmacy, Shoprite, Cadbury, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, etc. It was learned that the NB PLC provided the IT facility to enable the meeting hold.
The essential goods, classified under FMCGs areas daily needed products, which included foods and drugs; beverages, health and hygiene products, as well as medicaments, etc.
It was therefore agreed that the employees of these companies must carry their Identity Cards (IDs) to and from work to ensure easy identification and smooth passage.
All Food markets shall remain open; alongside the retail chains and these include Spar, Game, Shoprite etc. shall remain open daily.
The gesture was to reassure the people not to embark on panic buying, as Government would ensure that supplies are kept flowing.
It was equally agreed that Government would open additional 50 – 60 emergency markets in school premises that would be allocated to FMCG companies to go in and erect stands to sell their essential goods. This measure was to bring the market closer to those who cannot easily go to Spar and Shoprite to go and buy their daily needs.
However, all Electronics markets, shops, spare parts markets, clothes markets and all others, classified as non-essentials shall be closed down.
Transport for intracity commuting shall be allowed to operate, especially the Lagos State Transport Buses.
Trucks carrying inbound supplies or outbound products of FMCG companies will be allowed to operate to ensure supplies continuity of essential products.
The trucks must however have means of identification to enable law enforcement identify them easily. To this end, we will get our transport to make cardboard with PZCN logo for easy identification.
Intercity and Interstate supplies was identified as a challenge outside Lagos because most states governments have imposed ‘no entry’ into their state, especially from Lagos.
The Governor, therefore, pledged to liaise with his Ekiti State counterpart, Gov Fayemi, as Chairman of the Governors’ Forum to use his office and prevail on all state governments to co-operate and allow SC trucks of FMCG companies delivering essential raw materials and products supplies free passage into and through the states of the federation to ensure supply continuity.
On Garbage clearance off the roads and streets by LAWMA, the State Governor agreed that the Lagos State Waste Management Authority- would continue to work, to remove filth and keep the State clean.
Similarly, the State Government would reach out to both the Airport and Sea Ports operators, particularly the NAHCO; APMT, Maersk etc; to get them prioritise FMCG materials clearing over others during this period.
The participating firms may enjoy Tax incentives and reliefs during the period as a result of anticipated increased cost associated with crisis times.
They would also have access to key contacts for seamless communications with key contacts including the State commissioners and State Police Command Boss, CP Ademosu and his ADC.
It was expected that the NECA forum with Governor may remain a standing forum for crisis management, and as a result would be meeting once or twice weekly as the case may arise.
Meanwhile, the State Government has decided to establish new ISOLATION Centres across the state, particularly in Yaba, Onikan, Lekki, Gbagada. The target is to achieve 2000 bed capacity by end-March.
Government may also create three new TESTING Centres – with capacity to test 100 people per day. There were two presently functioning and the third would soon be completed.