Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments have commenced deliberation on ways by which African countries can get debt relief for the external loans taken by them.
They also resolved to improve oversight over loan approvals and endure judicious utilisation of loans in their respective countries.
The agreement was reached at the official formation and launching of the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments, which was initiated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
A statement on Monday by the Speaker’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said the body was formed to moot the idea due to the shared concern over the socio-economic effect of COVID-19 on African countries.
Members of the group, according to the statement titled, ‘Gbajabiamila, other African speakers take measures for debt cancellation…Nigeria to host maiden CoSAP confab in 2021,’ include Tagesse Chafo, Speaker, House of Peoples, Ethiopia; Aaron Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament, Republic of Ghana; and Justin Muturi, Speaker, National Assembly, Kenya.
The presiding officers of African parliaments, at a virtual meeting on Monday, were said to have stated their commitment to advocating for debt relief and ensuring that all resources made available from the debt relief efforts are transparently used and fully accounted for.
Gbajabiamila, in his remarks, emphasised 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, Ms Gabriela Barron, has shown tremendous support for CoSAP.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting noted that having had two meetings of the CoSAP, with the vision of Debt Cancellation Campaign Initiative, the members set for themselves some objectives that included to discuss and agree on a ‘Plan of Action’ on how to collaborate and contribute in the ongoing campaign for Africa’s debt relief.