The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) is out to push for total cancellation of all debts owed by African nations.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke during the ongoing first CoSAP in Abuja, yesterday, said this would help the countries as they would have no outstanding debts against them.
“We want to reset our buttons to read from zero. That is the position, and I appeal that we all support this push,” he stated.
Gbajabiamila was contributing to discussions on the first plenary topic of the day, “Financing Africa’s pandemic Response: Legislative Imperatives and Interventions”, anchored by the Country Representative in Nigeria, World Health Organisation, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo.
The session was chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, Rt. Hon. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Participants at the session, backing Gbajabiamila’s position, spoke on the need for parliaments to step up their oversight duties in tracking how the Executive spent the loans taken on behalf of countries, which ended as debt burdens or traps.
Some noted that in countries that secured debt reliefs, the parliaments must interrogate how the money returned to them was spent.
They pointed out 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.