Buhari begs world leaders to consider debt cancellation

Buhari says developing nations facing fiscal and liquidity challenges should be relieved.

President Muhammadu Buhari [Presidency]

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to world leaders to consider outright debt cancellation for struggling developing nations.

Nigeria's debt portfolio has skyrocketed under the president rising from N12.12 trillion in June 2015, a month after he assumed office, to N32.92 trillion as of December 2020.

In his address at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, September 24, 2021, the 78-year-old said the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of new wave of deepening debt for developing countries.

He noted that the unsustainable debt burdens on these nations typically force them to allocate vital financial resources to external debt servicing and repayments.

Buhari said the situation is causing neglect of domestic health, and other critical developmental needs.

He said an expansion and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative must include all developing nations facing fiscal and liquidity challenges.

"In addition, a review of the eligibility criteria for debt suspension, including outright cancellation, is needed for countries facing the most severe challenges," he appealed.

Many critics have knocked the Buhari administration for excessive borrowing, but the president's usual response is he's spending the loans on infrastructural developments that will benefit the country in the long run.

Last week, he asked the Senate to approve fresh external loans of $4 billion, and €710 million to fund critical capital projects.

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