President Muhammadu Buhari has said the developing countries can’t invest in humanity without relieving themselves from crushing effects of debt burden.
The Nigerian leader said this while speaking at the 5th edition of the Future Investment Summit held in Riyard, Saudi Arabia on Tuesday October 26.
According to Buhari, developing countries 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.
“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 percent are under 35 years old. When we came into government in 2015, we were quick to realise that long-term peace and stability of our country is dependent on having inclusive and humane policies.”
Buhari also outlined some policies his administration introduced to improve living condition of the populace.
“We introduced policies that supported investments in agriculture and food processing. We provided loans and technical support to small holder 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 percent ownership, zero interest loans and easy transfer of funds.
“In addition, we have highly skilled in-country workforce and a large domestic market.”