Nigeria

President Buhari: We can’t invest in humanity without relieving our countries of debt burden

President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, unveiled the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) otherwise known as eNaira making Nigeria the first African country to introduce the new innovative form of the payment system.

President Muhammadu Buhari has said developing countries cannot invest in humanity without relieving themselves from the crushing effects of the debt burden.

The president said there is no way services that contribute to the overall well-being of the population can be improved as long as the countries continue to allocate more resources towards external debt servicing and repayment.

Buhari spoke at the 5th edition of the Future Investment Summit held in Riyad, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.

Buhari said, “We 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 deepening the debt portfolio of poor countries.

“These nations increasingly allocate more and more resources towards external debt servicing and repayment at the expense of the health, education and other services that contribute to the overall well-being of their population.

“Nigeria’s population today exceeds 200 million people. Some 70 per cent are under 35 years old. When we came into government in 2015, we were quick to realise that the long-term peace and stability of our country is dependent on having inclusive and humane policies.”

The president added that his administration has introduced some policies to improve the living condition of the populace.

He added, “We introduced policies that supported investments in agriculture and food processing. We provided loans and technical support to smallholder farmers, through the Anchor Borrowers Program.

“As a result, Nigeria today has over 40 rice mills from less than 10 in 2014. Nigeria also has over 46 active fertiliser blending plants from less than 5 in 2014.

“Furthermore, in agriculture, we have reformed the process of obtaining inputs such as fertilizer and seeds.

“We have several million hectares of available arable land and have embarked on the creation of Special Agriculture Processing Zones across the country. These initiatives we believe will make it easier for investors in agriculture.

“Two months ago, I signed the Petroleum Industry Act. The Act will serve as a catalyst to liberalize our petroleum sector. It has introduced a number of incentives such as tax holidays, 100 per cent ownership, zero-interest loans and easy transfer of funds.

“In addition, we have a highly-skilled in-country workforce and a large domestic market.”

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