Buhari canvasses debt cancellation at UNGA

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Buhari canvasses debt cancellation at UNGA


By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged G20 countries to extend its debt suspension initiatives to all developing countries, Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States facing fiscal and liquidity challenges.

He called for outright debt cancellation for countries facing the most severe challenges:

“Developing countries have been faced with unsustainable debt burdens even before the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of new wave of deepening debt, where vital public financial resources are allocated to external debt servicing and repayments at the expense of domestic health and financing for critical developmental needs.

“I must commend the current initiatives by the international financial institutions and the G20 aimed at significantly mitigating the economic situation of the indebted countries and urge for more efforts in this regard.

“Therefore, there is an urgent need to consider expansion and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to include all Developing, Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States facing fiscal and liquidity challenges.

‘‘In addition, a review of the eligibility criteria for debt suspension, including outright cancellation, is needed for countries facing the most severe challenges.’’

He also tasked the international community to stand up against recent trend of unconstitutional military hijack of power in some African countries.

Read AlsoFull text of President Buhari’s speech at UNGA76

President Buhari, who spoke at the 76th Session of the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York, the United States of America (USA), warned that increasing cases of coups in West Africa are already eroding the democratic gains of the past decades.

According to the President, the unconstitutional takeover of power had sometimes been in reaction to unilateral changes of constitutions by some leaders, admonishing those elected to lead countries to reject the temptation to stay beyond their constitutional term of office.

He affirmed Nigeria’s support to efforts by ECOWAS, AU and the UN to address this growing challenge, saying “as leaders of our individual member-states, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region”

The President urged the international community not only to deal with the symptoms of conflict but also the immediate causes that fuel conflicts in the first place.

“These include poor and undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, poverty, ignorance, injustice and inequalities.

“There are no easy solutions to these conditions. They require long term investments and more effective international cooperation. In this connection, my delegation underscores the importance of promoting peaceful, unfettered, and inclusive participation of states in global actions towards conflict prevention.

“This will facilitate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union Agenda 2063,” he said.

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