High-level Meeting Of Heads Of State & Government On Financing The 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development In The Era Of COVID-19
STATEMENT BY H.E, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, GCFR, DELIVERED ON HIS BEHALF BY H.E PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT, AT THE HIGH-LEVEL MEETING OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT ON FINANCING THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE ERA OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND ON TUESDAY, 29TH SEPTEMBER, 2020
I am pleased to participate in this important event in addressing the financing needs for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.
I thank the Governments of Canada and Jamaica and the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the initiative. I also thank the co-leads of the six (6) Discussion Groups for their leadership.
Excellencies, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted our societies and economies, worsened inequalities, and deepened the gap between available resources and the resources needed to finance the Sustainable Development Goals. We must mobilize finance in response to this pandemic induced economic crisis and for long-term development.
As co-lead with Barbados on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), Nigeria wishes to stress that IFFs have continued to erode domestic revenues, undermine governance, threaten economic stability, and diminish the abilities of governments to provide much needed public services.
To overcome these challenges, we must combat IFFs with all the determination we can muster. We must act swiftly to adopt measures to ensure that taxes are paid where value is created, and this is especially important for the digital economy. We must also establish public beneficial ownership registers, and strengthen arrangements for the exchange of tax information.
Similar priority should also be given to tackling money laundering and corruption. Indeed, given the challenges that my country has faced in its effort to repatriate illicitly acquired assets, we endorse the recommendation for spontaneous disclosure and the enhancement of legal frameworks for non-conviction based asset forfeitures.
It is important to stress that the main destinations for illicit financial flows must support efforts to stop this scourge and work with the global community to dismantle the architecture that supports IFFs such as financial secrecy jurisdictions.
Excellencies, in addition, we support the call for debt relief for developing countries, and the extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) until 2021 as well as the granting of commercial debt relief where needed. We also call for enhanced global liquidity including through the reallocation of unused Special Drawing Rights currently held by developed countries. The increased flow of remittances can support development financing needs so it is important to reduce the costs of making such transfers.
As global leaders, we must do everything in our power to emerge from the crisis caused by COVID-19 by “striving together” in order to “deliver for all”.