The President gave the directive on Thursday during a meeting with members of the Presidential Committee on the review of the Impact of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on the Economy, held at the State House, Abuja.
Recapping details of the meeting to State House Correspondents after the meeting, Chairman of the Committee and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, also said the President further directed that measures to protect the poor and the vulnerable are put in place.
She said the committee met with the President to update him on the developments instigated by the COVID-19 Pandemic globally and how much effect it has had on the nation’s economy.
Speaking on the directives to issued at the meeting, she said besides ensuring prompt payment of civil servants’ salaries, she said the President ordered the protection of critical national assets.
“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 have measures that protect the poor and the vulnerable.”
“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 is 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”, she said.
Another member of the committee, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the Committee had cause to meet with the President to keep him abreast of developments around the economy and the worsening fortunes at the international oil market.
Also speaking, another member of the committee, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, said the committee had met with the President to suggest ways to redirect the economy so as to get it insulated against approaching global economic recession.
“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”, he said.