President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that the deliberation on debt cancellation for African countries is at an advanced stage.
He stated that the continent is on the verge of securing Special Drawing Rights of about $650bn from multilateral institutions.
Mr Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed these in his remarks at the three-day 1st Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments in Abuja on Monday.
In the last few years, Nigeria has increasingly borrowed to finance projects. This has provoked criticisms from many quarters.
Mr Buhari said most African countries had to inject billions of dollars as stimulus package despite the relatively weak economic circumstances. He noted that Nigeria had to inject about $7 billion which has increased the deficit.
“In many of our countries despite relatively weak economic circumstances, the legislature had to sit down with the Executive to make some of the most breathtaking budgetary provisions in our histories.
“In Nigeria, our stimulus package was in the order of N2.3tn – in excess of $7bn. In many countries, the implications of the huge deficits from these supplementary budgets must have kept legislatures and the executive awake at night, but many realised and performed these hugely risky but historical assignments.”
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, raised alarm on military incursion into politics in Africa.
He noted that the usurpation of democratically elected governments in Sudan, Mali, Guinea, and Chad is putting the continent’s democracy in jeopardy.
Mr Gbajabiamila added that “Even in the places where elected governments are still in charge, public faith in the governing institutions is at an all-time low.
“When citizens lose confidence that a democratic government can meet their expectations, democracy loses credibility and support and begins a death spiral.”
Also speaking at the event, the President of Africa Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, who attended the event virtually, said the economic growth of the continent was in decline by -1.5 per cent due to COVID-19, with over 26 million people falling further into poverty, while 30 million jobs were lost.
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