Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday commended NAFDAC for its expedited approval of locally manufactured alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
Osinbajo spoke during the virtual launch of the NAFDAC Automated Product Administration and Monitoring System, an electronic-registration assistance for micro, small and medium enterprises in Abuja.
According to him, the Buhari regime having regard for the role of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises as the powerhouse of the economy and the prime vehicle for job creation feels the economic downturn “very keenly” and is determined to assist in every way possible.
Osinbajo said, “I must therefore thank the Director-General and all the staff members of NAFDAC for this laudable initiative which qualifies, to use the language of the times, as a veritable COVID-19 palliative for micro, small and medium enterprises.
“Permit me to also recognise other ongoing efforts of NAFDAC in the implementation of regulatory measures and interventions to support the fight against the novel coronavirus.
“These include the conditional emergency-use approval for medical devices, expedited approval for local manufacture of alcohol-based hand sanitisers as well as approval of clinical trial protocols for the most promising anti-COVID drugs.”
Osinbajo stated that the event was aimed at assisting and addressing some of the challenges identified during the national MSME clinics.
…announces 80 per cent discount for MSMEs product registration with NAFDAC
The vice-president also announced an 80 per cent discount on the registration of MSMEs products for the next three months.
He said, “In the spirit of these times and as an example of the way business should be done in Nigeria henceforth, MSMEs can now process the registration of their products with NAFDAC in the comfort of their homes at an 80 per cent discounted rate over a period of three months period.
“Apart from the obvious cost-saving it brings, I believe that e-registration will serve our MSMEs especially well at this time of travel restrictions and social distancing. It is a time when we must find new ways of addressing old problems.”
He said now was the time to jettison the culture of reliance on imported products.
States still have very low capacity for isolation –PTF
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, has hinted that states still have very low capacity for isolation. He, therefore, advised that instead of opting for tents that could be too expensive, they should consider using halls of residence in schools to augment what they have.
Aliyu spoke on Thursday during a webinar hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, with the theme, ‘Combating COVID-19: The Nigerian story’.
Other speakers were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila; Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the Chief Executive Officer, Aliko Dangote Foundation and Secretariat Coordinator, Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19, known as CACOVID, Ms Zouera Youssoufou.
When asked the crux of Nigeria’s strategy to combat the raging COVID-19, Aliyu explained that even though Nigeria was going into the exponential phase of the pandemic, testing, isolation and case management were the measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus.
He said, “Our first part of the response really is to test. Unless you are going to be able to take steps to mitigate further transmission, then there is no point in testing, and we are seeing that across the country, isolation facilities are limited.
“Our states still have very low capacity for isolation. Yes we know we are all financially challenged as a government, whether at federal or state levels, but we have got to think outside the box.
“At some point, we will probably be overwhelmed if the trajectory continues, but the only way we can stop the transmission is to move people that are infectious out of those communities and put them in places where they are safe, where they can be monitored and be kept away from the rest of the public so that the pandemic doesn’t continue to spread.
“We are already working quite closely with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. We have already identified states that continue to have a huge gap in their isolation capacity. We are not saying create temporary structures that are very expensive, no. Make use of what you already have. Open up dormitories, schools, identify buildings that can be used, use the philanthropy spirit of Nigerians and get more buildings to set up more centres where you can put people, look after them, feed them properly and you can make them comfortable for the two weeks or so that they need to be isolated until they are no longer infectious.”
Also speaking, Gbajabiamila said there was a need to reduce the cost of governance, adding, “I’m hopeful that whatever we take away from this in terms of social changes will be for the best and we will drop some old habits that were inimical to our development as a nation.”
Fayemi, when responding to a question on what worried him most since the pandemic started, said the sheer uncertainty around livelihoods brought about by the pandemic, especially in a society that is largely informal like Nigeria. He, however, expressed optimism that there would be some opportunities in the adversity.
Also, Youssoufou said there was a need to take advantage of the pandemic to make durable investments in the health sector. “This (health sector) is one area where I think we under-invested so much and the consequence is that today we are scrambling to set up isolation centres and import things we shouldn’t have to import.”