2 April 2020. Voice of Nigeria: President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Finance and National Planning to promptly pay salaries of workers in the country.
He gave the directive during a meeting with the Presidential Committee on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
The President also directed the ministry to ensure that critical infrastructure like roads and rails are protected and as much as possible, use local inputs so that the country retains value within its economy.
Chairman of the committee and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said these while fielding questions from State House Correspondents after the meeting.
Ahmed who heads the presidential committee stated that ”the President further directed the committee to ensure that measures that protect the poor and the vulnerable are in place.”
She told Journalists that the committee briefed the President on current happenings around the world due to COVID-19 and the impact on the nation’s economy.
She said: “Well, he has directed that we should make sure that salaries are paid, make critical infrastructures like roads, rails are protected, as much as possible use local inputs so that we retain value within our economy. And also make sure that we put in place measures that protect the poor and the vulnerable.”
On the purpose of the meeting, she said, “This meeting was just to brief Mr. President as the situation we are in keeps evolving on a daily basis. As the health crisis gradually expands, affecting States and also the lockdown that has been ordered to help curtail expansion of the health crisis.
“The consequences of the lockdown are the additional slowing down of the economy and the measures that we need to take to mitigate the negative consequences of the slow trade and businesses.”
Another member of the committee, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the economy is not in the best of shapes, due to COVID-19 and oil prices are collapsing every day, hence the need for the President to be constantly briefed.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the economy is not looking as simple as everybody thought it would be.
He said: “The global economy naturally like we all know at this time will naturally suffer growth problems and may even lead to recession globally. So, we are trying to see what we can do as a country to rescue our own situation so we don’t go the direction many will go.
“It is not going to be easy but we can only assure our people that we are on top of it and that we will resolve it and Nigerians will still be better for it.”
Other members of the committee are the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mela Kyari.