Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP)on Tuesday agreed to pursue debt forgiveness for the continent from creditor-nations.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this in Abuja while briefing reporters on the sidelines of a two-day conference which held in the nation’s capital.
“We talked about debt cancellation and debt forgiveness. We felt parliament should be involved and speak as one voice and speak to our creditors and make a case as to why we needed debt forgiveness,” he said.
“We also agreed that in doing so, we are going to push for a tripartite agreement between the creditors, the executive other governments and the legislators, reason being that even if your debt is forgiven and funds are freed up to be diverted in other areas like health, education, your creditors will need to assured that the institution that is responsible for appropriation is involved and that is the case we are making.
“CoSAP as an institution has made commitments, even signed commitments within ourselves and ready to commit to the creditors that we would follow the money.”
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 argued 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.