President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to prioritise payment of salaries.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who heads the presidential committee to review the impact of coronavirus on the economy.
She said the president also directed the ministry to ensure that critical infrastructure like roads and rails are protected.
The minister said the president also ordered the use of local inputs for the country to retain value within the economy.
She said the president also directed that measures that protect the poor and the vulnerable should be put in place.
She said March salary has already been paid to all federal government workers.
“The president 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 measures that protects the poor and the vulnerable,” he said.
The minister said the committee briefed the president on current happenings around the world due to COVID-19 and the impact on the nation’s economy.
On the purpose of the meeting, she said: “This meeting was just to brief Mr. President as the situation we 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 is the additional slowing down the economy and the measures that we need to take to mitigate the negative consequences of the slow trade and businesses.”
Also speaking, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, said the economy is not in the best of sharp due to COVID-19 and oil prices are collapsing every day, hence the need for the President to be constantly briefed. Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, said the economy is not looking as simple as every thought it would be.
“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.
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“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,” he said.