OrderPaperToday – The Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) has called for total debt cancellation by creditor-nations as opposed to debt relief or review.
The Parliamentarians also expressed readiness to establish a piece of legislation that will monitor the implementation of borrowed funds.
These and many other resolutions were contained in a communique issued by CoSAP in a two-day conference held in Abuja Transcorp Hotel, Abuja.
Reading the communique signed by the 13 African Speakers, the Special Assistant to the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives on International Affairs, Dapo Oyewale noted that the move would help countries restart from the bottom.
According to the communique: “There is need to establish frameworks for adequate oversight of national borrowing.
The need to establish budget frameworks for effective oversight of public debt and risk management. Parliaments must approve every external/domestic borrowing and monitor the implementation of the loans.
Borrowing frameworks should reflect the country’s debt carrying capacity to ensure sustainability. Accelerate demand for debt cancellation.”
It added that “Debt cancellation from international financial institutions is required to enable African countries to invest more revenue towards social protection programs. CoSAP should press for this as a collective entity.”
Earlier, a statement signed by Lanre Lasisi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, explained that the body would want all debts owed by African countries cancelled.
He noted that this would help the countries to start from “reset the button to zero,” where they had no debts outstanding 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.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila made this remark while contributing to discussions on the first plenary topic of the day, ‘Financing Africa’s pandemic Response: Legislative Imperatives and Interventions.’ The conversation was anchored by the Country Representative in Nigeria, World Health Organisation, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo.
He however 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.
Meanwhile, as part of his recommendation for tackling or preparing for pandemics, Gbajabiamila suggested setting aside a percentage of the health budget for vaccine research and manufacturing by African nations.
He said this could also be legislated to make compliance mandatory. The Nigerian Speaker also recommended 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.