Unilever Nigeria Plc. has donated essential commodities worth N2.5 million through the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), to some FCT residents to mitigate effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Jonathan Okeke, Regional Sales Manager, Middle Belt, Unilever, presented the essential commodities to the Director-General, ACCI, Ms Victoria Akai, on Saturday in Abuja.
The products which would be distributed immediately by ACCI to various homes in FCT comprised of hand sanitisers, face masks, home and skin care products, cosmetics and other personal hygiene items.
Okeke said that due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians, it was a call to action for Unilever to intervene and impact on the lives of the citizens to mitigate its effect.
“We are partnering ACCI in distributing these items because it has direct access to a lot of women. We understand the period that we are into and how the pandemic has ravaged the whole world,” he said.
He said that similar intervention had also been carried out in many states across the country to cushion the effect by the company, Nigeria’s largest maker of soap as well as other home and personal care products.
Akai, while commending Unilever for its gestures also noted that ACCI was concerned about the economic effect of the pandemic and the lockdown on its members and Nigerians generally.
“We are grateful to Unilever. These will go a long way to assist various homes in the FCT who are in needs.
“We are into partnership with women associations because women are also in the front line.
“We are also targeting the market women to reach out to them with these items, to curtail the spread of the pandemic,” she said.
According to the director-general, ACCI has collaborated with some organisations to distribute essentials materials and also partnering Women Arise Development and Humanitarian Initiative (WADHI) to distribute the items.
Akai also commended the Federal Government on the N50 billion loan facility to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and its effort in enabling movement of essential commodities during COVID-19 pandemic.
She expressed concern that due to the impact of the pandemic, some businesses might not survive while some might take a long while before recovering from the effect.
In view of this, she said, the chamber had also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN), to consider its members who would like to leverage on the N50 billion loan to boost their businesses.
“The ACCI has an MSMEs desk which gives support to MSMEs operators applying for loan to fund their businesses.
“We help them to go through the process and we hope CBN will also make the funds available to our members,” she said.
Mrs Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia, Convener, WADHI, said the association which had a cluster of women would aid in distributing the items through the women leaders in all the area councils to reach many homes.
“We have women who are on our data base, day-to-day market women, a lot of them are petty traders with small capital base. Through us they have been able to access credits.
“The intervention is apt because they cannot afford some of these protective kits to make them not to be vulnerable while providing essential services to all of us,” she said.
WADHI is a non profit organisation which empowers women particularly in the financial sector and provides training through digital technology to enhance businesses.