By Babajide Okeowo
The Speaker of the House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila has canvassed debt forgiveness for African countries. This, he said will help boost development in Africa as African nations will spend less time towards debt serving but on governance.
The Speaker disclosed this in a social media statement after meeting international development partners on the Debt Cancellation Campaign Initiative (DCCI) under the umbrella of the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP).
The international partners expressed readiness to support the CoSAP debt cancellation drive for African countries.
The Speaker added that foreign debt cancellation for African countries was topmost on the group’s agenda and solicited their support to make it a reality.
Considering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on African economies, he disclosed that debt servicing was “strangling” African economies as African nations are spending funds needed for development on debt servicing.
“We can all sit here/talk about revamping the economy, develop the infrastructure in terms of health, education, and all of those things, which are great/wonderful.
But, we may be doing it, and it would be, hopefully not be an exercise in futility because these things require money and if all your money is going toward servicing debt, then how are we serious about this (Legislative) agenda?
So, one of the main issues we are dealing with is debt forgiveness in the form of debt cancellation,” he said.
He added that if this is done, African nations will have more funds for the development of the continent.
“We consider this debt forgiveness if we do get it, as money in hand and we have to channel these towards the development of the continent,” he added.
Those present at the meeting include World Bank’s Country Director in Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, delegations representing the EU Commission, ECOWAS, Nigeria, United Nations Development Programmes, GIZ, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Canadian International Development Agency, and others.