There was a virtual meeting of NECA (Nigeria Employers Consultative Assembly) with Governor of Lagos State (Babajide Sanwo-Olu) held on 25th March 2020, on COVID -19.
Below are the highlights of Governors response based on the issues and challenges companies raised;
· NECA (FMCG & Pharmaceutical companies) – about 24 participants including PZCN were fully represented; Others are Nestle, Unilever, Nigeria Breweries, Frischland, Promascido, Flourmill, Honeywell Flourmill, Spar, Niemeth Pharmacy, Shoprite, Cadbury, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, etc.
· NB PLC provided IT facility to enable the meeting.
· Lagos will not be on complete lock down but slow down. Intention is to take non essentials out of the street.
· There will be increased military presence (army, police, navy, air force and other para military organisations) as from tomorrow on the road to ensure compliance.
· Security – the police & military will be well briefed to be cautious with citizens to avoid untoward incidents. Government will over index on security.
· FMCGs are essential goods classified as daily need products, foods and drugs, beverages, health and hygiene products, medicaments, etc.
· Employees of these companies must carry their IDs to and from work to ensure easy identification and smooth passage.
· All Food markets shall remain open.
· The retail chains – Spar, Game, Shoprite etc. shall remain open daily. People should not panic buy. Government will ensure that supplies are kept flowing.
· Government will open additional 50 – 60 emergency markets in school premises that will be allocated to FMCG companies to go in and erect stands to sell their essential goods for people who cannot go to Spar and Shoprite to go and buy their daily needs.
· Electronics markets, shops, spare parts markets, clothes markets and all classified as non-essentials shall be closed down.
· Transport for intra city commuting shall be allowed to operate, especially 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. These trucks must 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 are a challenge outside Lagos because most states governments have imposed no entry into their state especially from Lagos. The Governor promised to put a call immediately after the meeting to Chairman of Governors forum of the federation who is governor of nearby Ekiti State (Gov Fayemi) for him 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. How fast and far this will happen remains to be seen. We will monitor deliveries across the countries and update.
· Garbage clearance off the streets and road by LAWMA – Lagos State Waste Management Authority- shall work all through to remove filth.
· Government will reach out to Airport and Sea Ports operators (NAHCO; APMT, Maersk etc. ) to get them prioritise FMCG materials clearing over others during this period.
· Tax incentives and reliefs (breaks) to companies and citizens due to increased cost during this crisis times. Governor mentioned that it is being considered by the State Government.
· ISOLATION Centres – Government is setting up centres across the state in Yaba, Onikan, Lekki, Gbagada. Target is to achieve 2000 bed capacity by end March.
· TESTING Centres – Government is setting up 3 testing centres with capacity to test 100 people per day. 2 already functioning and the third is WIP.
· To conclude Governor released key contacts to NECA members for quick access to key commissioners including Commissioner of Police and his ADC.
· The NECA forum with Governor shall remain a standing forum for crisis management. Will be meeting once or twice weekly as the case may arise. Members will be notified accordingly.