Fred Itua, Abuja
Following the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and it’s effects on global economy, especially developing countries, a civil society organisation, Project 20Million, has tasked G20 countries on debt relief or outright cancellation for Nigeria.
The body stated this in a letter addressed to the chairman of the G20 Forum, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and signed by its Director-General and Director of Administration, Ikechukwu Chukwunyere and Tijani Ali Danjuma respectively.
The letter with the subject, “Request for debt relief for the Nigerian state” was also copied to the 20 member countries of the G20, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, President of the World Bank, the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the chairman, Development Assistance Committee.
The letter reads: “It has become imperative for us to lend our voice to the demand for debt relief for African
countries especially Nigeria.
“As we all know the world has entered a major recession caused by slump in oil prices and most especially the novel Corona-virus that has brought the world economy to a grinding halt. We all know what the developed nations are passing through due to this pandemic where it has almost wiped out complete cities and regions and these are places with world standard healthcare and
“Project 20 million seeks to use this medium to ask for debt relief or outright cancellation of these debts for Nigeria because our own case is worse than imagined.
“Our healthcare is in shambles and can’t even manage this pandemic, Our economy that was shaky before this economic meltdown is now comatose at bet. We need all the support we can get to avoid a catastrophe of unimaginable consequences
“We were already one of the poorest countries on earth as stated by some international organisations, coupled with this pandemic and the poor health facilities obtainable in this part of the world.
“We use this opportunity to beg the G20 forum to task the world bank and IMF to either cancel the debt entirely or give us a debt relief that will enable our country the fiscal space to tackle the health and economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic because the economic emergency cannot be fully resolved until the health emergency is effectively overcome and this will not end simply by conquering the disease in one country alone but by ensuring recovery in all from covid-19 in all countries.”