The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has committed the sum of N100 million to support the fight against coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The exchange said in a statement in Lagos on Thursday that N60 million out of the N100 million would be donated to the Capital Market Support Committee for COVID-19 (CMSCC).
It said that the balance of N40 Million would be devoted to the “Masks For All Nigerians” campaign.
The CMSCC is a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-led committee, comprised of the capital market community.
It was set up to galvanise the capital market ecosystem to play an active role in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The statement said the “Masks For All Nigerians” campaign would see the NSE donate over 100,000 reusable face masks to states most affected by COVID-19.
According to the statement, the exchange will run an enlightenment programme on the safe use of masks on traditional and social media.
“This initiative comes on the back of a growing call for the use of masks as an effective measure in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“With the increasing body of evidence that the use of masks by the populace could slow the spread of coronavirus, several countries, including the United States of America, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Canada, and Nigeria to name a few, have adopted this control measure,” it said.
Mr Oscar Onyema, NSE Chief Executive Officer, is quoted as saying the Exchange recognizes the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians and the need to adopt more proactive steps in stemming the tide.
“In line with our tradition of supporting the communities where we operate, we have launched the Masks For All Nigerians campaign to ensure that protective masks get into the hands of citizens in the more vulnerable places.
“Through our media enlightenment engagement, we will raise awareness on the proper use of masks”, he also said.
Onyema said that NSE would continue to encourage adherence to the guidelines that had been provided by relevant agencies.
According to him, wearing of masks alone is not enough protective measure against COVID-19.
“We have also been deliberate with this intervention by patronising local manufacturers in our efforts to support indigenous businesses,” he said.
Onyema said that local manufacturers had been mandated to comply with the mask production specifications provided by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
On his part, the President of the National Council, NSE, Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, said the world was facing an unprecedented existential threat.
“We are facing an unprecedented existential threat that requires us to adopt a more collaborative approach in fighting this pandemic, especially where social interaction is inevitable,” Ogunbanjo said.
He said the exchange would work to encourage the use of Personal Protective Equipment through adequate production and distribution of reusable face masks.
“We call on the capital market ecosystem to support this initiative by wearing a mask when in public settings and donating masks especially to those at the bottom of the pyramid so as to protect lives leading to the reactivation of our economy.”
“The exchange has displayed remarkable resilience during this pandemic and continues to support the fight against COVID-19 in line with the strategic pillars of its Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR) strategy – community, workplace, marketplace and environment.
“The Masks For All Nigerians campaign and the donation of masks will provide immense support to the Government in reaching communities who have hitherto been left vulnerable,” he said. (NAN)