African speakers seek debt cancellation, not relief, review, says Gbajabiamila

Femi Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) is out to push for total debt cancellation by creditor-nations as opposed to debt relief or review.

Gbajabiamila, who spoke yesterday at the ongoing 1st CoSAP in Abuja, noted that there is a clear difference in the three terms; insisting that the body would want all debts owed by African countries cancelled.

He argued that cancellation would help the countries to “reset the button to zero”, and have no debts outstanding against them.

He informed that with debt review or relief, the debts would still be outstanding, except that there would be some alterations, adjustments or even postponement of the repayment schedules.

The Speaker in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, was quoted as saying: “That is the position, and I appeal that we all support this push,” in his contribution to discussions on, “Financing Africa’s pandemic Response: Legislative Imperatives and Interventions.”

Anchored by the Country Representative in Nigeria, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the session was chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Cancellation would help African countries to reset the button to zero, and have no debts outstanding against them.

In support of Gbajabiamila’s position, participants stressed the need for parliaments to intensify their oversight duties in tracking how the Executive spent the loans taken on behalf of their countries, which ended as debt burdens or traps.

Some noted that in countries that secured debt relief, the legislators must interrogate how the money returned to them was spent.

They noted that the creditor-nations, in considering the appeals for debt cancellation or relief, would look at several factors, including accounting for how the loans were utilised and the compliance of countries to agreements signed at the inception of the loan requests.

Meanwhile, as part of his recommendation for tackling or preparing for pandemics, Gbajabiamila suggested setting aside a percentage of the health budget for vaccine research and manufacturing by African nations.

He said this could also be legislated to make compliance mandatory, while supporting the establishment of an African Centre for Vaccine Research and Production.

He explained that the joint centre could be located anywhere on the continent, where all African countries could contribute to its development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post

Marketers alert Nigerians to prepare for worst fuel scarcity

Next Post

FIRS directs taxpayers to submit COA on fixed assets

Related Posts