One of Nigeria’s topmost priorities is getting the COVID-19 vaccine, a quest that is equally of utmost concern to the Buhari administration, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed.
During opening of the virtual edition of the Paris Peace Forum yesterday to aggregate efforts on containing the novel cronavirus, Osinbajo said: “The priorities of Nigeria in the post COVID-19 era include improved healthcare and the economy.
“First, we need to keep the virus under control. While our guards are still firmly in place, getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of utmost concern.
“On this, we are encouraged by the efforts of WHO and other international agencies working to ensure that vaccine delivery will be equitable across all countries, regardless of the priority of orders and ability to pay.”
Underscoring the importance of prioritising interventions and investments in the healthcare system, in a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the Vice President stated: “We are encouraging private investment to upscale our health sector, with emphasis on improved facilities and affordable universal healthcare.”
The event featured presentations by some Heads of State and Government alongside international organisations on a collective response to the pandemic.
While appreciating leaders across the world for their prompt response and cooperation in controlling the spread of the virus, Osinbajo noted: “The sheer scale of disruptions to our lives and livelihoods caused by COVID-19 certainly caught us all by surprise.”
Restating the call for debt relief for developing countries, the Vice President said: “The pandemic underscores the need for adequate financial buffers to cope with the ‘black swan’ events. For many developing countries, the debt burden makes this all but impossible.”
He added: “We call for debt relief for these countries, and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) of the G20 at least until the end of 2021, as well as commercial debt relief where needed.”
The Vice President had in previous international forums earlier in the year made a case for debt relief for Third World nations.
The statement said the Paris Peace Forum is a yearly that features leaders and actors from civil society around the world with a focus on challenges facing the world – climate change, terrorism, migration, cyber insecurity, global governance issues among others.