The Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) says SADC member states must jointly speak with one voice with creditors to consider a delay in payment of debts, warning that without a moratorium governments may not cope with the economic impact from Covid-19.
African debt has been rising again due to range of factors, from after-effects of the global financial crisis and the commodity pricing slowdown to low domestic savings rates and infrastructure investment promises made by democratically elected governments.
“Cognisant of looming debt crisis in the region, SADC member States must collectively call upon creditors to consider debt moratorium for all member states to enhance their capacities to respond to the economic and social shocks spelt out by the pandemic,” SAPSN stated in a statement.
It called upon SADC Heads of State and Government to put in place restrictive measures to combat resource leakages resulting from corruption, tenderpreneurship and diversion of public resources. The network said there is need to ensure timely and adequate safety nets to cushion vulnerable groups with special attention on women, youth, children, people with disabilities and the elderly.
“The Covid-19 response mechanisms being implemented in the SADC member States must be a product of participatory and inclusive decision making where citizen’s voices are solicited incorporated.
“Covid-19 affects all and sundry, therefore any efforts to combat the pandemic must therefore involve the participation of civil society, political parties, traditional leaders, local authorities, academia, media, researchers, informal, labour and industry. Specific reference is made to decisions to cushion employees whose sources of income are at stake,” it said.
With most economies in the region sustained by the informal sector, it said, players involved must be accorded the attention they deserve to ensure the protection of livelihoods and safe operating environment. “Respective governments must also prioritise the informal sector players in their recovery plans and retooling.”
SAPSN urged the regional countries to upscale domestic resource mobilisation efforts including optimising mineral resource endowments to ensure sustainability in the funding of public goods and services in both times of crises and stability.
“In the same vain, there is need for Regional Corporation on tax matters to combat illicit financial flows which is a major threat to domestic resource mobilisation efforts,” it said. SADC must come up with a regional framework for economic rescue packages post Covid-19, it added.