By Chioma Iruke
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has stated that his administration has taken “very painful, but necessary decisions to invest for a long-term prosperous future” of Nigerians within the last six years.
Speaking on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia at the Investment Conference organised by the Future Investment Initiative Institute, Buhari said the investments were made “knowing very well that this will come with short term pains.”
President Buhari also assured that his administration would keep encouraging public and private initiatives that increase investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security.
This, according to him, will go a long way in reenergizing the global economy in a post-COVID-19 era.
According to him, upon assuming office in 2015, his government understood the importance on inclusive policies for sustainable peace.
“In the past six years, our government took very painful but necessary decisions to invest for a long-term prosperous future knowing very well that this will come with short term pains,” the President was quoted as saying via a statement issued by his media aide, Garba Shehu.
“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,” it added.
Buhari attributed the growing social unrest to inequalities and unfair policies that exclude majority from opportunities for participation, admonishing world leaders and global investors to prioritize on inclusive and humane policies.
Reacting to the theme of the summit, “Investing in Humanity”, President Buhari said the Nigerian perspective remains a focus on people-oriented development policies, with diversification from oil to more inclusive sectors such as agriculture, ICT and mining; tackling corruption, insecurity and climate change and introducing Social Investment Programmes.
Buhari commended the organizers of this year’s summit for the foresight to look at “investment”, not only from a profitability and wealth accumulation point of view, but also bringing prosperity to humanity in general.
The humane approach to investment, he said, is the only way to address the global challenges we face, especially in the Covid-19 era.
The President noted that investment in humanity must also take into consideration the effects of debt burden on nations, which had been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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 wellbeing of their population,” he added.