African speakers call for debt cancellation, not revision, says Gbajabiamila
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) is pushing for full debt cancellation by creditor nations rather than debt relief or review.
Gbajabiamila, who was speaking on the second day of the ongoing 1st CoSAP in Abuja, explained that the body would like all debts owed by African countries to be cancelled.
The President contributed to the discussions on the first topic of the day’s plenary session, “Financing Africa’s pandemic response: legislative imperatives and interventions”, moderated by the country’s representative in Nigeria, World Health Organization, the Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo. The session was chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, Rt. Hon. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
He noted that this would help countries start by “resetting the button to zero”, meaning they had no outstanding debt against them.
In relation to debt revision or relief, Gbajabiamila told his colleagues that in the case of the latter, the debts would still be unpaid, except that there would be some modifications, adjustments or even postponement of payment schedules. refund.
“We want to reset our buttons to read from scratch. This is the position, and I ask that we all support this push,” he said.
Participants in the session, supporting Gbajabiamila’s position, spoke of the need for parliaments to step up their oversight functions by monitoring how executives have spent loans taken on behalf of their respective countries, which have resulted in debt burdens or traps.
Some noted that in countries that have obtained debt relief, parliaments need to question how the money returned to them has been spent.
They stressed that creditor countries, when considering calls for debt cancellation or relief, would consider several factors, including how the loans were used and countries’ compliance with agreements signed in the start of loan applications.
Meanwhile, as part of his recommendation to fight or prepare for pandemics, Gbajabiamila suggested setting aside a percentage of the health budget for research and manufacturing of vaccines by African countries.
He said it could also be legislated to make compliance mandatory.
The President also recommended the establishment of an African Center for Vaccine Research and Production.
He explained that the joint center could be located anywhere on the continent, where all African countries could contribute to its development.