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UNGA 76: Buhari talks debt cancelation, COVID-19, terrorism

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UNGA 76: Buhari talks debt cancelation, COVID-19, terrorism

By Cecilia Ologunagba

On Friday in New York, President Muhammadu Buhari called on rich countries and international financial institutions to outright cancel the debt of countries facing the most serious challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged global economies .

In his address to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Buhari particularly urged the G20 countries to extend their debt suspension initiatives to all developing countries, least developed countries and small island states. developing countries facing fiscal and liquidity challenges.

Developing countries faced an unsustainable debt burden even before the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of a new wave of debt deepening, where vital public resources are allocated to servicing and repaying external debt, to the detriment of national health and satisfaction. critical development needs.

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

” Therefore, there is an urgent need to consider the expansion and extension of the debt service suspension initiative to include all developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing States facing to budgetary and liquidity problems.

“In addition, a review of the eligibility criteria for debt suspension, including outright cancellation, is needed for countries facing the most serious challenges,” Buhari told world leaders at the meeting. the assembly.

The Nigerian leader called for international trade reforms that would engender recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, build resilience to future shocks and pursue transformative development strategies capable of achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. .

Nigeria reaffirms that international trade is an engine of development and sustained economic growth, as well as the eradication of global poverty.

My delegation would like to reaffirm the essential role that a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and fair multilateral trading system can play in stimulating economic growth and development.

Fair and equitable trade would eventually eliminate the need for help.

“My country and indeed all African countries do not intend to stay indefinitely seeking help. All we need is a fair and equitable international trading system, ” he said.

The UN correspondent of the Nigeria News Agency said the president also took the opportunity of the speech to renew his advocacy for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, stressing the steps Nigeria had taken to achieve “moderate success” in containing the virus and ending its deadly attack in the country.

He added: “Nigeria remains grateful for the help received from our partners and friends around the world. Vaccination is the key to our safe exit from the pandemic.

” We fully support the COVAX initiative from which we have benefited. We also thank the United States of America, Turkey, India, China, the European Union and others for the vaccines provided.

Despite the recognition, however, I would like to reiterate my call for a fairer and more equitable distribution of vaccines in all countries so that together we can fight and contain the pandemic.

“The growing wave of newer and more contagious strains makes this even more urgent. No country can afford the socio-economic implications of a prolonged shutdown. It is imperative to stress that no one is safe until everyone is safe. ”

He said Nigeria had stepped in to stop the pandemic, adding: “From the start, we recognized that detection and contact tracing were important tools in the fight against the virus.

In this regard, from just four labs with testing and detection capabilities, we have expanded the facilities to over 140 centers today.

Likewise, we have built isolation centers and emergency hospital wards in record time across the country. We perform genomic sequencing at designated laboratories across the country to detect circulating variants.

In addition, more than 40,000 healthcare workers have recently been trained in infection, prevention and control measures with the support of various partners.

“Through the Nigerian Center for Disease Control, we have established 16 infectious disease treatment centers located in our teaching hospitals and federal medical centers,” he said.

On terrorism, Buhari told the United Nations General Assembly that the Nigerian security forces have achieved considerable success in the fight against terrorism.

“Due to the renewed vigor of the Nigerian military, many terrorist fighters voluntarily surrender to our security forces,” he said.

The president noted that while terrorism continues to dominate the discourse on world security, in Nigeria the terrorist group Boko Haram, although fragmented by internal conflicts and weakened by our defense forces, is still active and active. attack at easy targets.

“Nigeria will continue to work closely with the UN counterterrorism bodies and entities to put an end to this scourge,” he added.

The country will spare no effort to address the terrorism challenges posed by the activities of Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, as well as banditry in northwest and north-central Nigeria, said the president.

“Me and three other Nigerian heads of state have actively served as peacekeepers and Nigeria continues to support peacekeeping efforts. We know the sacrifice involved; we also know how important peacekeeping is for people in vulnerable situations.

“Nigeria will continue to play its full role in supporting UN peacekeeping operations in Africa and beyond,” he said.

Source: NAN

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