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Row over Nigeria debt repayment

Posted by By Emma Emeozor on 2005/12/28 | Views: 348 |

Row over Nigeria debt repayment


The plan to cancel part of Nigeria’s $30 billion (Ł17bn) debt owed Western nations has become a subject of heated debate in the United Kingdom.

The plan to cancel part of Nigeria’s $30 billion (Ł17bn) debt owed Western nations has become a subject of heated debate in the United Kingdom.

Religious leaders in the UK are saying that it would be a huge burden for Nigeria to repay a further $12 billion even though the deal would relieve the country of nearly $18 billion in debt. They argued that despite its oil wealth, Nigeria is one of the world’s poorest countries. Nigeria is the world's eighth largest oil producer, and the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

BBC quoted critics as saying that funds available from abroad only benefit Nigeria's rich elite, which cares little for the poor. In his contribution, the head of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, Rev David Coffey, said debt relief is a matter of justice, not charity.

"We want to secure that debt cancellation. We applaud the UK and Nigerian government’s efforts to secure debt cancellation for Nigeria," he told BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

He pointed out that of the $12bn that would still have to be repaid, "$1.7bn is coming to the UK, and that figure is twice as much as the UK is giving in aid to the whole of Africa in 2005."

The Anglican Archbishop of York and the Muslim Council of Britain are also among a group of religious leaders who have become involved in the debate.

The issue has, however, raised serious questions about debt cancellation, including whether the rich countries have a moral obligation at all to help poor countries which fail to keep their house in order.
The Federal Government’s efforts at debt relief yielded positive result recently following the decision of Nigeria’s main creditor, the Paris Club to write off $18 billion (Ł10bn) debt owed it by Nigeria.

The government will, however, buy back a chunk of outstanding loans under the relief package.
About $31bn of Nigeria's debt is owed to members of the 19-nation-strong Paris Club. It has not received any fresh loans since 1992, but has repaid $8bn debt since then.

At the time when the news broke, the United Kingdom's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, said the debt relief combined with the debt buy-back would "mean there is 100 per cent debt relief for Nigeria possible over the next six months".

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.