By Musa Sunusi Ahmad

Following increased orders for nose masks from the Cross River state Garment Factory, Calabar, the state Governor, Sir Ben Ayade has approved the recruitment of additional 1000 hands to ramp up production at the facility.

Speaking Monday at the factory during the induction exercise for the newly recruited workers, the governor explained that the new intakes were part of the 8,000 job drive embarked upon by his administration to cushion the economic impact of the global pandemic, COVID-19, on Cross River youths.

“Directly behind me is a team of young men and women who have just been recruited as part of the 8000 young people we are recruiting as a consequence of Covid 19 outbreak and as part of the covid 19 program. Cross River committed herself to the recruitment of 8000 young men and women, mopping them off the streets. Consequentially, we have here almost a thousand people who want to resume as fashion designers,” he stated

According to him “they are doing their induction and after this induction they’re expected to commence work because we are also ramping up to three full shifts and we actually need additional hands. So, what you find here is an employment program on that flat rate of N30,000 a month to ensure that everyone of them has a job to do.”

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some states, private firms and individuals have been placing orders for nose masks from the factory.

The highest of such order came from Lagos state government which last month made an order for one million pieces of the masks.

The demand for the item, says Ayade has however since gone up, necessitating the recruitment of extra hands in order to beef up production.

His words: “The demand for the nose masks is on the increase. Incidentally, the federal government has also given an order that everybody should wear a mask if they have to go out to public places. In other words , the No mask No Movement policy of Cross River State has gone national.”

The governor expressed worry at federal government’s refusal to adopt the Cross River state Garment factory as the principal producer of nose masks in the country as the battle against the pandemic rages on.

“We are giving out nose masks free in Cross River to the people but one would have expected that the federal government will use it also as a stimulus package by taking our Garment Factory outfits across the country and specify standards for them, if necessary get NAFDAC involved in the certification process and then give order for mass production thus stimulating the economy”, he stated.

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