Lawmakers seek debt cancellation for African countries

Femi Gbajabiamila
Femi Gbajabiamila
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The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Heads of African Parliaments have met to reach a climax in foreign loan debt relief for African countries.

The Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity Lanre Lasisi, disclosed this in a statement on Monday, October 13.

Naijtech gathered that the official formation and launching of the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) initiated by Gbajabiamila due to the shared concern over the socio-economic effect of the pandemic on African counties.

Members of the group include Tagesse Chafo, Speaker, House of Peoples’ Parliament of Ethiopia; Hon. Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, MP, Speaker of Parliament, Republic of Ghana, and Hon. Justin Bedan Muturi, Speaker, National Assembly, Kenya.

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Others are Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker, Chamber of Deputies, Rwanda; Hon. Moustapha Niasse, President, National Assembly, Republic of Senegal; and Hon. Thandi Modise, Speaker, National Assembly, South .

Speaking at the meeting, Gbajabiamila stressed the need for advocacy for the expansion and the buy-in of other African Speakers and Heads of Parliaments, saying the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Ms Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has shown tremendous support for CoSAP.

According to him, “Today, officially marks the beginning of this historic initiative, and I want us to remember this as a historical day, not just for us as Speakers and Heads of Parliaments with a vision but for our continent, .

“We have managed to achieve so much in this little time, but this is not the time to rest on our oars but to work even harder.

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“We must put more pressure and effort than before and act with more strength and vigour that we can muster so that our voices can be heard more clearly both domestically and internationally.

“The next couple of weeks will serve as a major determinant of this initiative, but I’m confident that we are more than capable, especially because we are aware that our people are relying on us to see this vision and initiative to fruition.”

Also, the other members said: “We pledge to include citizens in open and participatory processes to decide the appropriate use of such funds, to publish all relevant budget information, and to implement open procurement and contracting for all funds expended.

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“We pledge to revise the current loan application procedures of our countries to ensure that subsequent loan collections are properly monitored, from commencement to completion, through our respective legislative powers.

“We pledge to work collaboratively as Speakers and Heads of African parliaments to ensure that all resources invested in are channelled into the wholesome development of the continent.

“We pledge to partner with international and national organizations, public and private sectors as well as civil society organizations to keep us accountable and actualize our stated commitments to ensure that the government is more transparent and accountable to our citizens”.

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