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Gbajabiamila meets development partners on debt cancellation for Nigeria, other African nations

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday met some development partners on debt cancellation for Nigeria and other countries in Africa.

The meeting, according to a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, took place under the Debt Cancellation Campaign Initiative (DCCI) put together by the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP).

At the meeting held at the National Assembly complex in Abuja and attended by the World Bank Country Director in Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, the representatives of the European Union (EU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the development partners expressed their readiness to support the debt cancellation drive for African countries.

Also at the meeting were the representatives of FCDO Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), FCDO Engage Citizens Pillar (ECP), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC); Mercy Corps; GIZ Nigeria, and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

In his address, Gbajabiamila said foreign debt cancellation for African countries was topmost on the group’s agenda and solicited their support for the initiative.

READ ALSO: Gbajabiamila gets IPU president’s backing on debt cancellation push for African countries

He sought the views of the World Bank official on debt cancellation, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on African economies.

The speaker said: “We can all sit here and talk about revamping the economy, develop the infrastructure in terms of health, education, and all of those things, which are great and wonderful.

“But, we may be doing it, and it would be, hopefully not be an exercise in futility because these things require money and if all your money is going toward servicing debt, then how are we serious about this (agenda?

“So, one of the main issues we are dealing with in that association is debt forgiveness in the form of debt cancellation. In other words, pressing the reset button; we made commitments, we have done a lot, so, we are here to take responsibility in terms of transparency and accountability. We even signed an Accountability Pledge in ensuring all freed up resources will be spent wholly on addressing the social and economic pains our people bear.

“We consider this debt forgiveness if we do get it, as money in hand and we have to channel these towards the development of the continent.”

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