President Muhammadu Buhari has set up an Economic Sustainability Committee with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as chairman.
He has also okayed financial services providers to operate during the restriction on movements and activities that he imposed on Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States to curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this during a press briefing by the task force in Abuja on Monday.
“Mr President has approved the exemption of the financial services sector from the restrictions, to allow skeletal operations in the financial system and money markets in order to keep the system in light operations during this period,” he said.
The SGF also announced that the president has constituted an Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) to be headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Mustapha said: “For economic sustainability, Mr President has, today, approved the constitution of a committee to be chaired by His Excellency, the Vice President.
“The terms of reference of the committee will be announced soon.”
He appealed to all Nigerians for understanding, especially because of the inconveniences that will come with the measures being introduced to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19.
The SGF maintained that the response strategy of the PTF will remain focused on testing, detection, contact tracing, containment, slowing down the spread and management of coronavirus.
Mustapha observed that a lot of questions had been asked by the public about testing, noting that the PTF was always willing to provide relevant information and clarifications.
He informed: “The PTF remains the strategic decision and coordinating body for the national response on COVID 19. It is important to state that a national response strategy for COVID-19 has been developed and is being constantly reviewed as dictated by developments.”
In his remarks at the briefing, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who is a member of the PTF, announced that Nigeria had recorded the second death from COVID-19.
He said the deceased had an underlying illness.
The minister noted that the Ministry of Health had intensified its efforts at contacts tracing, adding that the strategy remained prompt detection of suspected cases.
Ehanire stated: “We have intensified contact tracing and our strategy remains to promptly detect cases, isolate them and follow up with their contacts and also isolate and treat in other to reduce the spread of the infection.
“As of today the 30th of March 2020, we have recorded 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria of which 68 are in Lagos, 21 FCT, seven in Oyo, three in Ogun, two in Bauchi, two in Edo, two in Osun, two in Enugu and one each in Benue, Ekiti, Kaduna and Rivers States.
“Majority of them are persons who came from overseas and others have been traced as close contacts of such returnees.
“The high number of cases in Lagos and Abuja is due to their function as country gateways for air travel.”