Buhari calls for duty-free market access for least developed countries

Buhari calls for duty-free market access for least developed countries


President Muhammadu Buhari has called on countries to grant duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating from least developed countries (LDCs).

Nigeria is not among the 46 nations currently identified as LDCs by the United Nations (UN).

Buhari said granting such market access to LDCs will ensure their integration in regional and global value chains.

The President spoke at the UN conference of LDCs in Doha, the capital of Qatar, according to a statement on Monday by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.

He criticised the current structure of the global financial system which places an “unsustainable external debt burden on the most vulnerable countries”.

Buhari warned that such debt burdens would make it extremely difficult for LDCs to meet the 2030 agenda for the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

“In 2015, the world came together to endorse the 2030 agenda for the 17 sustainable development goals. There was no doubt that it was highly ambitious and would require leaders around the world to be fully committed for the SDGs to be achieved within the projected time frame.

‘‘Eight years on, the possibility of achieving the SDGs remains bleak for many countries, particularly, the least developed countries. The difficulties in achieving the SDGs are numerous and were further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the continued threat of climate change, and recently the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The least developed countries are often faced with developmental vulnerabilities and challenges that are not always of their making.

“These pose huge obstacles to their development efforts, hence the need for urgent and robust assistance to help unlock their potentials and build socio-economic resilience. This assistance can be provided within the framework of the Doha programme of action which is designed to help LDCs exit their current classification,” the statement quoted Buhari as saying.

Buhari also challenged developed countries, civil society actors, the private sector, and the business community, to partner with the LDCs in order to provide necessary resources and capacity to deliver development outcomes in the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the 2030 agenda.

Speaking on the issue of rising debt burden, the president underscored the need for reforms of the international financial architecture that prioritises the needs of LDCs.

He aligned with the UN secretary-general’s description of the global financial system as an “unfair debt architecture that not only charges poor countries much more money to borrow on the market than advanced economies, but downgrades them when they even think of restructuring their debt or applying for debt relief”.

On trade, Buhari said it is critical to establish modalities to facilitate transit cooperation, technology transfer, and access to global e-commerce platforms.
He said they are critical for the integration of LDCs into the regional and global value chains and communications technology services.

“The adoption of a global coordination mechanism to systematically monitor illicit financial flows and engender support for a United Nations international convention on tax matters to eliminate base erosion and profit shifting, tax evasion, capital gains tax and other tax abuses, is essential to achieving the SDGs and promoting security and economic prosperity,” he said.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.