By James Ezema
In its efforts to contribute to the strengthening of the fight to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Nigeria, by redeeming a $280 million pledge to the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), Floor Mills Nigeria Plc (FMN) has commenced deployment of a $840,000 food relief packages to vulnerable communities in 12 states across the nation.
This is part of weathering herculean supply chain challenges to procure $1.5 million worth of medical supplies for Nigeria which will rapidly beef up the Nigerian COVID-19 testing capability.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality in Nigeria, the Federal government has been motivated to prepare a comprehensive response and mobilise resources to curtail the spread of the virus.
To achieve this, the Nigeria private sector would need to get involved, get productive and deliver tangible support to the government.
Nigeria currently has 407 confirmed cases, 12 deaths as at 11:20 p.m on April 15, 2020.
A statement by the Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC (FMN Group) said that mandated by its unwavering commitment, sense of duty to Nigeria spanning the past 60 years, the company activated an action plan to support the government in fight against the coronavirus.
The Nigeria’s critical industries giant kicked off its plan with a redemption of the Group’s N1 billion pledge to the Central Bank of Nigeria-led Nigerian Private Sector Coalition against COVID-19.
It also commenced a $840,000 food relief distribution activity spanning 12 Nigerian States, delivering food supplies to the most vulnerable communities hit by national lockdown.
The COVID-19 scourge has also necessitated global economies to implement restrictions to ensure their frontline responders have sufficient medical supplies and personal protection equipment (PPE) to combat the virus.
As such, supply chain of medical supplies in these unprecedented times has been severely impacted globally.
FMN said it has initiated a global supply chain plan to help provide the Nigerian Government with tangible, and tactical support during the global economic lockdown.
“This initiative was spearheaded by the philanthropic Industrialist John Coumantaros, Chairman of the FMN Group.
“Planning involved the leadership of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), vendors from 5 Nations, multiple logistics partners, and a tireless team drawn from the FMN group’s operational leadership.
“The team scaled through varying national restrictions on medical supply procurement, limited stock, transport restrictions, but stayed resolute in the race to help Nigeria manage and flatten the curve”, the group said.
The medical supplies being facilitated by the FMN include 331,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as N95 Masks, Coveralls, Protective gloves, and Protective eyewear, enough to provide regular use for 10,000 Nigerian healthcare professionals over two months.
Others are 35,000 laboratory-based testing capacity, 100/day field-testing capacity, and 75 Ventilators to be distributed through the NCDC.
The statement signed by the Group Chief Operating Officer of FMN, Boye Olusanya to kick off the FMN COVID-19 response action added that “To reduce the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, FMN will continue to work with the Federal Government and related agencies to provide relief materials.
“The safety of Nigerians is paramount to us, so we encourage all Nigerians to adhere to the necessary protective measures against the virus and its spread.”
“FMN relying on its 60-year-old profile as an industrial investor in Nigeria’s critical industries and a significant contributor to Nigeria’s quest to feed itself, is bringing its biggest strength to the table, using its global supply chain network to help Nigeria defend itself against COVID-19”, the statement read.