The Nigerian Stock Exchange last week said it has committed ₦100 million to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the country. The funds will be disbursed in two divisions – ₦60 million to the Capital Market Support Committee for COVID-19 (CMSCC), while the balance will be devoted to the “Masks For All Nigerians” campaign.
The CMSCC is a Securities and Exchange Commission-led committee, comprised of the capital market community and set up to galvanize the capital market ecosystem to play an active role in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. In addition to its efforts as part of CMSCC, the “Masks For All Nigerians” campaign will see the NSE donate over 100,000 reusable face masks to states most affected by COVID-19. In addition, The Exchange will run an enlightenment program 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.
Speaking on the initiative, the NSE Chief Executive Officer, Oscar N. Onyema said, “At the Exchange, we recognize 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, continue to encourage adherence to the guidelines that have been provided by relevant agencies, and emphasize that wearing of masks alone is not enough protective measure against COVID-19. We have also been deliberate with this intervention by patronizing local manufacturers in our efforts to support indigenous businesses, who we have 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),” Onyema further stated.
On his part, the President of the National Council, NSE, Otunba Abimbola Ogunbanjo said, “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. As we 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.
The Exchange continues to support remote working and trading; promote market deepening activities; create an enabling regulatory environment for stakeholders; and recognize the efforts of public and private sector players in raising awareness, ramping up testing, and increasing the capacity of the health sector to slow the spread of COVID-19.