President Buhari asks world leaders for ‘debts cancellation’ at UN General Assembly

Nigeria - President Addresses United Nations General Debate, 76th Session

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has asked world leaders to consider developing states “facing fiscal and liquidity challenges” and consider them for “debt suspension, including outright cancellation.”

He said this on Friday, while addressing world leaders at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

President Buhari said, “On the issue of debt, we have seen that 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.

“Nigeria reaffirms that international trade is an engine for development and sustained economic growth, as well as the global eradication of poverty. My delegation would like to reaffirm the critical role that a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system can play in stimulating economic growth and development.

“Fair and equitable trade would eventually eliminate the need for aid. My country and indeed all African countries do not intend to stay indefinitely looking for aid. All we need is a fair and equitable system of international trade.”

Buhari’s plea comes amid Nigeria’s towering external debts which is at least $33billion. The government despite public outcries has further approached the National Assembly to take fresh loans to attend to “critical infrastructure.”

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