Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has called on developed countries to grant duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating from the world’s 46 least-developed countries.

According to President Buhari, such a move would ensure that poorer nations are fully integrated into the global trade value chains.

A statement made available by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu said the President stated this during an appearance at the UN Conference of Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar.

The statement revealed that President Buhari criticized the current structure of the global financial system which places an unsustainable external debt burden on the most vulnerable countries, he also added that such debt burdens would make it extremely difficult for LDCs to meet the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

More agitations by president Buhari: Buhari called for modalities to facilitate transit cooperation, transfer of technologies, and access to global e-commerce platforms, including reduction of tariffs, as 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.
  • “On Nigeria’s expectation for the Conference, Buhari expressed optimism that the Doha Programme of Action would lead to the acceleration of exports from LDCs by 2031, through the facilitation of their access to foreign markets in line with World Trade Organization Facilitation Agreement.”

Sustainable Development Goals: Buhari revealed that in 2015, the world came together to endorse the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. He said:

  • ”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 timeframe.
  • ‘‘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.”

He added assistance to poorer nations can be provided within the framework of the Doha Programme of Action which is designed to help LDCs exit their current classification and challenge developed countries, civil society actors, the private sector, and the business community, to partner with the LDCs to provide necessary resources and capacity to deliver development outcomes in the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the 2030 Agenda.

On climate change, Buhari said we must also commit to helping build resilience in developing countries, while also providing the needed technical as well as financial support for a just transition to renewable energy.

  • ‘‘The Least Developed Countries, therefore, continue to suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change, despite contributing the least to its causes.
  • ”Deaths from climate-related crises are higher in the most vulnerable countries, with projections that there will continue to be an upward trend.
  • ‘‘We must continue to focus on how best to ensure the provision of security, education, health and other basic services to our people, in order to guarantee a prosperous future for all,’’ he said.

What you should know: Nairametrics reported last month that the Nigerian Government said UK Government’s plan to reduce tariffs on duty-free trade in goods exported from Nigeria could potentially grow its exports to the UK from 0.3 per cent to 5 per cent share of the market by 2030 with a value of £14 billion.

The Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Dr Ezra Yakusak, who disclosed this, said the move was expected to boost trade with Least Developing Countries (LDCs) through reduced tariffs as well as simplified Rules of Origin for LDCs.

  •  “The opportunity for Nigeria to increase its non-oil exports to the UK in sectors where supply currently exceeds the demand are cocoa, fertilizers, sesame, ginger and cashew nuts. Others are natural rubber, cotton, frozen prawn, plantain and tomatoes.”