Don’t Fool Me Twice G-8’s Debt Disbelief

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For Africans and people in a few other developing countries, the recently announced “debt reliefâ€? by the G-8 has become a cause for celebration. Movie stars, clergy, musical artists, economic-conscientious-objectors and other do-gooders have pulled a good one again! What is totally lost in the news is the history and analysis of the origin of the debt in question. No single person - except those whose voices aren’t heard by the mainstream media - has asked the right questions about the so-called “debt relief.â€? Really, whose debt was it and whose relief will it be? 

In Nigeria’s case, the Paris Club should be made to pay reparations to the people of Nigeria for lending monies to the crooks and kleptomaniacs who ran the country under various regimes—be they military or civilian Mafioso. The Paris Club—the elitist name used by those who decide on these loans—knew from the beginning that these elements did not meet the conditions set for responsible management of monetary resources. Yet, they sent them loads of “loans and aid,� sometimes more than requested. Whenever the people rose up in protest against the inhumane management of their resources, the “military-industrial-complex� in the west would also send loads of weapons and ammunition so the “leaders’ could suppress the masses that rose against them. These same masses are now being forced to clap with one hand: the other hand has been blown off by forces inspired by Bretton Woods loan sharks.

As long as any country in Africa accepted the inhumane implementation of the “Structural Adjustment Programâ€? promoted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fraud (IMF) that country received whatever it wanted. In the case of Nigeria, the governments that owe the Paris Club did not legitimately represent the people who are now supposed to rejoice in the first place. The people’s interest or aspirations were never represented or discussed at the institutions that signed off on these bogus loans. They were never involved in the implementation of the multi-billion dollar “projectsâ€? that were executed under these spurious loans.  And as we now know, the beneficiaries of these loans were the European and North American mega-corporations awarded the huge contracts to implement the “projects.â€?

They are the ones hiring expatriates and consultants who got handsomely paid while never leaving their European and American capitals. Corrupt African leaders also benefited as they visited European and American banks to deposit stolen monies daily in their vaults: monies which they use to finance their profligate lifestyles and habits on the French Riviera.Another chapter of the unheard story includes the terrible lies told about the status of the loans.
In the case of Nigeria, we know that we have already paid more than the original “principalâ€? of the loan through the fraudulent methodology referred to as “debt servicing.â€? Payments are made by the debtor countries annually yet no dent is made on the interest or the principal. “Debt servicingâ€? is a huge source of corruption in many developing nations. It is the deepest “black holeâ€? in national budgets.  The cost of servicing debts is usually more than the budgets for health and education combined.  Moammar Ghaddafi was right on target by admonishing African leaders to “stop begging for aid.â€? He would know. For so many years, he managed Libya without foreign aid or international financial supervisors, leaving the Libyan people well taken care of—at least better than anywhere else in the developing world. His prescription is for everyone to prudently manage what they have without looking for help from fresh American and European graduates who could barely manage their own private credit cards and school loan debt.

The issue of the conditionality proposed by the “Guilty 8� attached to this new “debt relief� is our next focus. How does it impact the economic policies of the developing countries? Would these countries return to the era of blackmail and janitorial controls? Are the IMF and the World Bank appointing finance ministers and “economic advisers� for every country pardoned? Would debt relief mean the repatriation of the “economic hit men� back to their countries of origin in Europe and America? Would these also translate to a global manhunt and trial for well-known kleptomaniacs and return of their stolen wealth to the people from whom they robbed them the first place? Is this policy just another game plan to line up developing countries in a reprise of cold war brinkmanship playing with “non-aligned countries� against the “Allied Forces?�

Whatever the answers may be to the aforementioned questions, the conditionalities that have been exposed thus far are pretty lethal. G-8 countries have announced that the “debt relief� to Africa is contingent upon “good governance, democratization and open markets.� These are other terms for direct control over political choice and economic activities in the debtor countries. “Good governance� no longer means responsible governance. It never did. The best governments - as far as G-8 leaders are concerned - are those that do the bidding of the Western nations and their governmental houses. You could be a Mobutu SeSeku in the former Zaire or Ibrahim Babangida in Nigeria stealing and ruining your country’s economy and still win the Nobel Prize for “Good Governance.�

Mrs. Maryam Babangida was actually once awarded the highest prize given by the Hunger Project, even as it was evident that the “Better Life for Rural Women Projectâ€? she headed was an avenue for robbing Nigeria blind, which in turn promoted excruciating hunger and poverty throughout Nigeria in the 90’s.  It was a shame to see Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo nodding away to the G-8 leaders at the recent gathering. His people were very quick to justify his numerous trips abroad by giving that as the reason for Nigeria’s debt relief. Possibly they thought that Nigerians were fools not to understand that the presidents of the countries, which received total debt relief, do not travel even one percent of the amount of travel he’s logged. The President of Ghana does not even have a presidential jet!

The biggest contradiction that should hit home for Nigerians are the horrible condition of life on our streets, villages, hospitals and schools that will never change regardless of the size of “debt relief� thrown in our direction. Nigeria’s real debt includes the President, Vice-President, Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, Chairmen, and Councilors who are not going to change their ways. For close to two years Nigeria, even before this “debt relief� was announced, has earned a huge income from high oil prices. Yet we are still stuck with waterlogged runways at our airports, death traps for highways, hospitals that offer no consultations, a tyrannical police force that kills innocent citizens, schools with neither books nor laboratories, and a huge mass of land kept in darkness every night. It is hoped that Nigerians and Africans are not taking the “debt relief� gesture too seriously: It should be known that the “debt� will continue to be ours but the “relief� may never be!

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