* Calls for debt relief for struggling economies
The president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), called for a “human approach” to investing as the only way to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is how he denounced the “crushing effects” of the debt burden on poor countries weighed down by the pandemic.
Buhari made the call on Tuesday while speaking at the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative Summit held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant for Media and Publicity Garba Shehu revealed this in a statement titled “President Buhari Says Long-Term Peace, Stability Will Depend On Investing In Human Policies, debt relief “.
The president attributed the growing social unrest to inequalities and unfair policies that exclude the majority of opportunities for participation, urging world leaders and global investors to prioritize inclusive and humane policies.
According to him, “In doing so, it will go a long way to revitalize the global economy in a post-COVID-19 era.”
âNigeria is Africa’s largest economy and the most populous country. Our economic reforms focused on âpeopleâ investments are ideal for investors seeking profitable returns while having a positive impact on citizens.
âInvesting in humanity is the right thing to do. I firmly believe that the historic underinvestment in âhumanitarian projectsâ is at the root of most of the insecurity and socio-economic problems the world faces today, âhe said.
Buhari added that, in line with the summit’s theme, âInvesting in Humanity,â Nigeria is focusing on people-centered development policies, with oil diversifying into more inclusive sectors such as agriculture, ICT and mining; fight against corruption, insecurity and climate change and introduce social investment programs.
âInvesting in humanity is investing in our collective survival. This is why we in Nigeria believe that public and private partnerships should focus on increasing investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security.
âThe Nigerian population today exceeds 200 million people. About 70 percent are under 35. When we took office in 2015, we quickly realized that the long-term peace and stability of our country depended on inclusive and humane policies, âhe said.
He said that over the past six years his regime has made “very painful but necessary decisions” to invest for a prosperous long-term future, knowing full well that this will come with short-term pain.
He praised the organizers of this year’s summit for the foresight to look at “investing” not only from the point of view of profitability and wealth accumulation, but also of bringing prosperity to mankind. in general.
âWe must continue to continue our efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and mitigate its negative socio-economic impact on our societies, build resilience and achieve recovery,â said Buhari.
The president noted that investing in humanity must also take into consideration the effects of the debt burden on nations, which has been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.
âWe cannot invest in humanity without relieving our countries from the crushing effects of the debt burden, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of worsening the debt portfolios of poor countries.
“These nations are allocating more and more resources to the service and repayment of the external debt to the detriment of health, education and other services which contribute to the general well-being of their population,” he said. he declares.
Buhari further listed Nigeria’s diversification efforts which he says continue to yield results, especially in agriculture.
He said that by introducing policies that support investments in agriculture and food processing, and providing loans and technical support to smallholder farmers, âNigeria today has more than 40 rice mills compared to less than 50,000 rice mills. 10 in 2014. Nigeria also has more than 46 active fertilizer blending factories less than 5 in 2014.
Speaking about the recently signed Oil Industry Law, Buhari told the assembly of world leaders, global investors and asset managers that the oil sector is already undergoing reform that would make it more attractive and inclusive.
He said the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria are currently run as independent world-class institutions to facilitate investment in the country.
He called for more investment in infrastructure such as healthcare and education, which âpresent enormous opportunities for investors in a country of our sizeâ.
On the recently launched eNaira, Buhari told delegates that the currency makes Nigeria the first African country to introduce a central bank digital currency. This move, he said, would improve and reposition the economy to attract investors.
The President expressed his deep gratitude and gratitude to the Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Al-Saud for the invitation and congratulated Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for his leadership and support throughout the Summit. Future investment initiative.