President Muhammadu Buhari has called for the outright cancellation of debts for developing countries facing severe fiscal and liquidity challenges.
Buhari made the call Wednesday in his farewell speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, revealed a statement.
The president told the world leaders that multifaceted challenges facing most developing countries have placed a debilitating chokehold on their fiscal space.
“This justifies the need to address the burden of unsustainable external debt by a global commitment to the expansion and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative as well as outright cancellation,” he said.
As of October 2021, the World Bank revealed that the debt burden of the world’s low-income countries rose 12 percent to a record $860 billion in 2020, while external debt stocks of low- and middle-income countries combined rose 5.3 percent to $8.7 trillion.
The president also vowed to entrench credibility, fairness and transparency in the upcoming 2023 elections, adding that heavy investments have been made to strengthen the framework for free and fair elections.
”As President, I have set the goal that one of the enduring legacies I would like to leave is to entrench a process of free, fair and transparent and credible elections through which Nigerians elect leaders of their choice,” he said.
He said the constitutional term limits have been strictly adhered to in Nigeria, reiterating that a democratic culture provides a Government with the legitimacy it needs to deliver positive change.
Consequently he noted that at the 78th UNGA, there will be a new face speaking for Nigeria as its president.
Buhari also expressed concern that Africa and other developing nations, which produce only a small proportion of greenhouse gas emissions, are the hardest hit by climate change
“’Fortunately, we now know what we can do to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis and the related energy challenge; as a first step, we must all commit to releasing the financing and the technology to create a stable and affordable framework for energy transition,” he said.
The president said that Development Financial Institutions must prioritise de-risking energy projects to improve access of renewable projects to credit facilities, noting that no countries should be ‘left behind’ in this equation.
He added that Nigeria expects UNGA 77 and the upcoming COP 27 to help galvanise the political will required to drive action towards the fulfilment of the various existing climate change initiatives.
Regarding the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, the president warned that the danger of escalation further justifies Nigeria’s call for a nuclear-free world and a universal Arms Trade Treaty, which are necessary measures to prevent global human disasters.
“The war will have adverse consequences on all, hindering the capacity of the international community to work together to resolve conflicts elsewhere, especially in Africa, the Middle-East and Asia,” he said.
Buhari added that the ongoing war in Ukraine is making it more difficult to tackle the perennial issues that feature each year in the deliberations of this Assembly, such as nuclear disarmament, reduction of inequalities within and amongst nations, among other things.
He demanded that world leaders must find quick means to reach consensus on the nuclear non-proliferation Treaty with related commitments by nuclear weapon states.
In his concluding remarks, president Buhari urged the leaders present to uphold values of justice, honour, integrity, as he reminded them that these are extraordinary times with interdependent challenges but enormous opportunities.