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COVID-19: Buhari orders prompt payment of salaries

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to make sure that the salaries of workers are paid as and when due so as not to cause them additional burden during the ongoing lockdown over coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday, said the president also directed the ministry to ensure that critical infrastructure like roads, rails are protected and as much as possible, and as well use local inputs so that the country retains value within her economy.

According to the minister, the president further directed that measures should be put in place to protect the poor and the vulnerable in society.

Ahmed spoke after a meeting of the presidential committee to review the impact of coronavirus on the economy, met with President Buhari at the presidential villa.

She said the committee, which she heads, briefed the president on current happenings around the world due to COVID-19 and the impact on the nation’s economy.

Ahmed stated: “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 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 the 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.”

Another member of the committee, Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the economy is not in the best of shape due to COVID-19 and oil prices are collapsing every day, hence the need for the President to be constantly briefed.

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.”

Also in the committee are Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mela Kyari.

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