President Muhammadu Buhari has urged international financial institutions to assist member states in cushioning the negative impact of the pandemic in the spirit of solidarity.
President Buhari said the assistance includes extending concessional loans, technical support, lowering of tariff on medical equipment and consumables, sharing of expertise in case management, adopting open trade policies, as well as outright debt cancellation.
Already, countries ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic have been seeking loans from international financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) among others.
“Within the spirit of South-South cooperation, we must also assist one another, particularly the less developed and less endowed member states with technical, medical, and financial assistance.
“It is by so doing that we can rightly claim to uphold the Bandung Principles of equality, mutual interests, and cooperation,” President Buhari said this on Monday in Abuja while participating in a virtual Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
The President, who said only a collective international approach would mitigate the devastating effect of COVID-19, assured that the Federal Government would intensify efforts to monitor, test and isolate more people, especially at the community level.
He added that national, regional and global strategies would be required to tackle the pandemic, which, he said, had ravaged humanity and caused unprecedented devastation to the well-being of people, their livelihoods, and global economy.
“The theme of this extra-ordinary Summit ‘United Against COVID-19 Pandemic,’ aptly reflects the importance for a proactive approach and the need for multilateral cooperation in finding quick solutions to the challenges that COVID-19 pandemic poses to our nations.
“Since the outbreak of the disease, countries have made concerted efforts to limit the spread of the pandemic within and outside their borders as well as treating those infected by the virus.
“Two weeks ago, we in West Africa came together to work out a common sub-regional response to the crisis. The summit appointed me the Champion to lead our efforts on fighting the pandemic in our region,” he added in a statement issued Monday by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina.
President Buhari said the task before the international community remains daunting, and more needs to be done to reduce the impact of COVID-19. According to him, “It is now clearly evident that no nation can independently and singlehandedly tackle a pandemic of this nature which is no respecter of borders, regions or status.
“Invariably, enhancing multilateral cooperation through exchange and sharing of best practices is imperative to overcome the disease.
We must, therefore, form a united front against this common enemy by being coordinated and timely in our responses. “Furthermore, we must all encourage and empower our scientists and medical experts to join the quest for a vaccine and cure to this universal plague.’’
He also told Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement that the central role of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) in fighting the pandemic must be acknowledged and leveraged for the benefit of all member nations.