Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has called for the possibility of ensuring debt cancellation for African countries, as against debt review or relief.
Gbajabiamila made this call on Tuesday in Abuja while briefing reporters on the sidelines of a two-day conference by the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) held in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
According to him, the Conference agreed to pursue debt forgiveness for the continent from creditor-nations.
“We talked about debt cancellation and debt forgiveness. We felt parliament should be involved and speak as one voice and speak to our creditors and make a case as to why we needed debt forgiveness,” he said.
“We also agreed that in doing so, we are going to push for a tripartite agreement between the creditors, the executive other governments, and the legislators, the reason being that even if your debt is forgiven and funds are freed up to be diverted in other areas like health, education, your creditors will need to assure that the institution that is responsible for appropriation is involved and that is the case we are making.
“CoSAP as an institution has made commitments, even signed commitments within ourselves and ready to commit to the creditors that we would follow the money.”
Rt. Hon. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, presided over the meeting.
Participants at the event, who backed Gbajabiamila’s position, stressed the importance of parliaments stepping up their oversight responsibilities in following how the Executive used loans acquired on behalf of countries that ended up becoming debt burdens or traps.
Some suggest that parliaments in debt-relief countries should investigate how the money returned to them was spent.
They stated that when assessing debt cancellation or relief requests, creditor nations would evaluate several issues, including accounting for how the loans were used and countries’ compliance with agreements negotiated at the outset of the loan requests.
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