The Sunti Golden Sugar Estate says it will retain all its 2,400 employees to maintain full operations at the factory, amid job losses caused by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Joseph Umolu, Director, Corporate and Legal services of the company, said this in a statement on in Lagos.
The sugar company is a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria Group (FMN).
FMN had initiated strategic measures to ensure safety and welfare of employees, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.
According Umolu, the new health and safety strategy was part of the general measures deployed by the group to keep all its facilities, including the Sunti Golden Sugar Estate, safe from the COVID-19 virus.
He said that before the pandemic, the company had strict health and safety measures in place, and all it needed to do was to upscale the measures to comply with recommended COVID-19 safety protocols.
Umolu also said that the company was distributing palliatives to residents of its host, Mokwa community, and creating food reserves for its employees.
“Proper safety measures have been put in place across the facility, including hand wash points, soaps and sanitisers at each operational entry point.
“Sunti already operates under the highest health and safety standards, even before the Coronavirus lockdown policy by the Federal Government.
“To help employees deal with the growing pressure of working during the current period, Sunti Golden Sugar Estates has issued palliative food products to all its employees as well as created a strategic food reserve for employees, should the disease persist and conditions become tougher,’’ he said.
Umolu said that in spite of the restricted movement, the company, being in the essential food sector, was in full operation to ensure availability of sugar in the country.
According to him, it has just concluded its crushing season, harvesting 146,200 tons of sugar cane and producing 15,860 tons of sugar.
He said that the company also produced 9,640 tons of molasses and 11,600 MWH of electricity generated using bagasse (sugar cane fiber) as fuel.
Umolu said it was now entering its cultivation season and would maintain high level of employment to ensure a seamless process.
“At this time, when COVID-19 is causing so much job insecurity, Sunti has maintained its staff strength to do the cultivation of sugarcane, gapping, irrigation, weeding and fertiliser application, as well as maintaining the factory during the off-crop,” he said.
He also said that the 26 communities that make up Mokwa, it’s host community, had benefitted from 4,000 cartons of noodles out of the FMN’s N400m food relief programme.
NAN reports that the Chief Executive Officer of the FMN group, Paul Gbededo, had earlier restated the group’s commitment to ensuring food safety in Nigeria by making all its agro-processing facilities operational.
“As one of the largest foods and agro-allied groups in Nigeria, we understand that our role in society remains vital.
“To that end, FMN is committed to our purpose of ‘Feeding the Nation’ every day and has taken strategic measures to safeguard the health and safety of our employees, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders. (NAN)