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Buhari renews Africa’s debt cancellation call in UN meeting



PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has renewed the appeal for debt cancellation for African counties to enable them reverse the devastations of COVID-19 on their economic and human development.

 Buhari reiterated the call yesterday in a virtual meeting tagged High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.

The meeting was convened by Canada, Jamaica and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

  He cautioned major nations against adopting a “me first” and “every man for himself” attitude in addressing the consequences COVID-19 on 21st century global economy and international relations.

  Equally, the President urged major nations to provide free additional resources through an international consensus to assist poor countries fight the coronavirus pandemic.

  According to Buhari, only global solidarity was the hope for humanity at this critical time, and to do this, developed countries and international financial institutions have to cancel debts owed by “needy countries” especially in Africa.

   The President also used the occasion to apprise the international community on the devastating impact of the pandemic on the Nigerian economy, the health sector and efforts by his government to mitigate the crisis.

   We have been proactive in implementing a number of strong measures, including fiscal, monetary and structural policies, and a multi-front response to the health crisis created by COVID-19 which captures all tiers of Government as well as the private sector. Our objective is to revert to the government’s planned medium-term fiscal consolidation path once the crisis is over. Our strategy for macroeconomic stability is anchored on our home-grown Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP),” he continued.

  On demographics and health, Buhari told the meeting that with an estimated population of 200 million and a large segment of economically vulnerable population, Nigeria had a high burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

“This level of disease burden, coupled with poverty level and Nigeria’s weak system; the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly jeopardizing and reversing the gains already made by the Government and its partners including in such other areas as outbreaks of Lassa and yellow fevers and measles,” he said.

  More than 50 Heads of State and Government as well as heads of international organisations participated

  It will be recalled that Nigeria recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on 27th February 2020. But the country has seen a steady increase in the number of cases to stand at 8,915 confirmed cases, out of which 2,592 have been discharged with 259 losing their lives across 35 states as at yesterday.

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