PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, asked world leaders in New York to consider debt cancellation for poor countries, citing the impact of such on their economic crisis.
The President, who spoke at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said developing countries were facing numerous challenges, including being able to service external debts.
The Nigerian President beckoned on the global leaders to address what he described as the burden of unsustainable external debts.
“Nigeria, therefore, implores our global partners to do more to complement our endeavours. Indeed the multi-faceted challenges facing most developing countries have placed the ability to address their fiscal place,” he said.
“This equally calls for the need to address the burden of unsustainable external debts by a global commitment to the expansion and extension of the debt service suspension initiative to countries facing fiscal and liquidity challenges as well as outright cancellation for countries facing the most severe challenges.”
Buhari also informed world leaders that he would be addressing the diplomatic community as President for the last time, underpinning that by this time next year, Nigeria will have a new president representing her.
He promised to entrench a process of free, fair, transparent and credible elections through which Nigerians elect leaders of their choice.
The President assured of his commitment to constitutional term limits and Nigeria’s effort to promote the rule of law and democracy in West Africa, citing the country’s support to The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Chad during their political impasse.
Buhari stated that these measures would complement efforts by leaders in countries with fiscal challenges to curb inequalities and curb socio-economic crises.
“Efforts to protect communities from the scourge of disinformation and misinformation must also be matched with efforts to reduce inequalities and restore hope to our poorer and most vulnerable of our communities as a means to stem the many socio-economic conflict drivers with which we are faced.
“In spite of our efforts, humanitarian crises will continue to ravage some of our communities. Nigeria, therefore, implores our global partners to do more to complement our endeavours,” he said.
He also noted that climate change problems reduce opportunities and prosperity in African countries, despite contributing minimally to greenhouse emissions.
Buhari called for financial and technical support for energy transition and improve access to credit facilities for renewable projects.
“We are the hardest hit by the consequences of climate change, as we see in the sustained droughts in Somalia and floods of unprecedented severity in Pakistan.
“These and other climate-related occurrences are now sadly becoming widely commonplace in the developing world. We are, in effect, literally paying the price for policies that others pursue. This needs to change.
“As a first step, we must all commit to releasing the financing and the technology to create a stable and affordable framework for the energy transition.
“Development Finance Institutions must prioritise de-risking energy projects to improve access of renewable projects to credit facilities. There should be no countries “left behind” in this equation,” he stated.
He noted that these steps could mitigate the effect of climate crises and energy challenges.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.