China take note on COVID-19: Africa’s debts must be cancelled, says Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari has asked “developed countries” to cancel debts owed by “poor countries” to enable them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a UN-backed high-level meeting which held virtually, Buhari said global solidarity was the hope for humanity in this pandemic.

He urged “developed countries” to provide free additional resources through an international consensus to assist poor countries fight the coronavirus pandemic.

”The world has changed through COVID-19 and so must the global financing architecture for development financing and the response to the current pandemic,” he said.

“There is an urgent need for weak and needy countries especially those of Africa, to receive a fresh reprieve.

”This is a historic plague affecting every corner of the globe. In the circumstances, the response needed must be global, unconditional, comprehensive, and rapid.

“Debts must be forgiven and cancelled. Free additional resources are needed urgently through an international consensus to enable poor countries work to reverse the devastation of COVID-19 to the human race.

”Rising now and standing together in true global solidarity to my mind is the only hope for humanity, the best approach to safeguarding the 2030 SDGs and the only way we can build back for more resilient economies and societies.”

The president also used the opportunity to talk about the devastating impact of the pandemic on the Nigerian economy and the strategies being implemented by the government to manage the situation.

”For Nigeria, the shocks are multiple, including the sharp decline in international oil prices which has negatively impacted revenues and growth, worsened external and domestic positions, and further increased banking sector vulnerabilities, resulting in enormous human and economic toll on the country,” Buhari said.

”We have been proactive in implementing a number of strong measures, including fiscal, monetary and structural policies, and a multi-front response to the health crisis created by COVID-19 which captures all tiers of Government as well as the private sector.

”Our objective is to revert to the government’s planned medium-term fiscal consolidation path once the crisis is over. Our strategy for macroeconomic stability is anchored on our home-grown Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).”

Buhari also opened up about the revised 2020 budget, saying emphasis has been shifted towards bridging the gaps in the nation’s health infrastructures to strengthen national response to COVID-19 and other diseases.

”This level of disease burden, coupled with poverty level and Nigeria’s weak system; the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly jeopardizing and reversing the gains already made by the government and its partners including in such other areas as outbreaks of Lassa and yellow fevers and measles,’’ the president added.

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