Saturday, May 21, 2022

CoSAP: Gbajabiamila pushes for debt cancellation for African nations

The debt of low- and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa reached to a record $702 billion in 2020, per a new World Bank report released October 11, 2021.

• May 11, 2022
Femi Gbajabiamila
The Speaker of House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila (Photo Credit: @femigbaja)

Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila says the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) is seeking total debt cancellation by creditor-nations.

Mr Gbajabiamila made this known on day two of the ongoing 1st CoSAP  in Abuja.

He explained that the body would want all debts owed by African countries cancelled, adding that this would help the countries to start from “reset the button to zero.”

This he said means that they had no debts outstanding against them.

Mr Gbajabiamila said that compared to debt review or relief, in the case of the latter, the debts would still be outstanding, except that there would be some alterations.

Others he said would include some adjustments or even postponement of the repayment schedules, saying “we want to reset our buttons to read zero.”

He added that this was the position, and appealed that African countries should support this push.

Mr Gbajabiamila also 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.

This, he said, usually ends as debt burdens or traps.

Mr Gbajabiamila also said that there was a need to set aside a percentage of the health budget for vaccine research and manufacturing by African nations.

He said this could also be legislated upon to make compliance mandatory, while recommending 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.

The debt of low- and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa increased to a record $702 billion in 2020, according to a new World Bank report released October 11, 2021.

This, the bank said, is the region’s highest debt burden in a decade.

NAN

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