MELAKA: The domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry expects manufacturers to supply 10 million face masks in the coming week to meet strong public demand in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the huge volume was in line with the government’s assurance to get manufacturers to produce more face masks in order to address a spike in demand.
“The department had met local face masks manufacturers to get a clearer picture of their production capacity for the short term.
“Among the constraints they faced were manpower, shift regulations and tax exemptions for imported raw materials.
“I gave them the assurance that the government will fulfil their requests.
“We have had discussions with the home, human resources and finance ministries so that these manufacturers can speed up production,” he told reporters after the launch of the Food Bank Siswa programme for Melaka polytechnics here today.
On the food bank programme, Saifuddin expected the number of donors to increase by 20% after the Food Donors Protection Bill was passed in October last year.
With the bill passed, major food manufacturers and distributors have now shown keen interest to volunteer as donors for the programme.
“In view of this development, we now have plans to expand the programme to 123 private higher learning institutions, teachers’ training institutions and polytechnics nationwide. This will involve some 12,300 recipients this year,” he said.
Last year, the programme benefited 12,251 students in public higher learning institutions, he added.