Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, in a statement in Abuja while answering questions from State House correspondents passed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari, directing her to ensure that salaries were paid at due time and this came as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s economy.

This the President said yesterday, in a meeting with the Presidential Committee on the impact of coronavirus on Nigerian economy.

She said the president also directed the committee to put in place measures meant to protect the poor and less privileged members of the society from unnecessary hardships as a result of the virus.

Also to ensure that “critical infrastructure like roads, rails are protected and as much as possible, use local inputs so that the country retains value within her economy.’’

The minister further explained that the purpose of the meeting was to update the president on situations evolving on a daily basis. “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,’’ she added.

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who is also a member of the committee, 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 everyone 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.”