By Mohammed Bougei Attah
The African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, AFRODAD and partner, Africa Network for Economic and Environmental Justice, ANEEJ hosted the second hybrid Conference on Debt and Development on Thursday August 18 in Abuja. The event was hosted on the theme From Recovery to Reforms: Stop the Bleeding.
In his welcome address at the opening of the Conference, Rev. David Ugolor, ANEEJ Executive Director said the conference is meant to feed into the High Level Political and Expert and Hybrid Meeting slated for later dates in August.
Further, Rev. Ugolor said in today’s meeting, participants need to identify and explore the peculiarity of debt contraction and servicing processes through the lens of public participation and oversight of some sectors, such as the National Assembly and the Debt Management Office of the Federation.
Speaking on the same issue, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President said the subject of debt and it’s management is not new to many of the participants, particularly himself that has participated in similar issue over the years. He noted that debt has become a global issue, affecting nations across the globe and that no one is spared but Africa is worse hit. He therefore commend the civil society organizations, particularly ANEEJ that have always taken the initiative to interrogate issues of debt, Anti-corruption and other socio-economic challenges.
On his part, Mr. Theo Jong, the AFRODAD Director who spoke from Harare virtually gave further credence to the opening remarks by ANEEJ Executive Director. He identified in particular, the COVID-19 pandemic as a key element that affected debt management especially as most debts were suspended during the era.
Other participants that spoke at the conference include Anita Erinne, acting director, debt management and enforcement at the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS and Dr. Chris Itsede, Executive Director of Polar Afrique.