Politics

National Assembly investigations could jeopardise the ability of government to receive loans from China – Federal Government

Mr. Rotimi Amaechi the Minister of Transportation

Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, on Wednesday in his reaction to the National Assembly’s decision to review loan facilities from China, asked the lawmakers to provide another source for huge infrastructural loans if any.

Amaechi noted that if the National Assembly was not comfortable with the Federal Government’s borrowings from China, it should provide an alternative.

He further expressed worries that the probes by the lawmaker on loans collected by Nigeria could hinder the release of more funds from China.

The minister told the National Assembly not to allow the current probe frustrate the construction of rail projects across the country, adding that efforts were already being made to repay the loans, particularly the ones received from China.

Amaechi had appeared before the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements on the $500million loan taken for the construction of the Abuja-Kaduna and other rail line projects.

Speaking on the clause in the loan agreement, Amaechi said; “I have told the House of Representatives that first I just got to know that there is a clause in the agreement (with China).

“It is simple; for example, the loan to construct Ibadan to Kano rail is $5.3bn. The implication is that if by the end of the day, you don’t pay back our money, whatever we need to take from you, we will take from you.”

“But what the Chinese normally do is that they go after the same asset to recover their money. So what is wrong with that?”

Speaking further, Amaechi noted that he had already told the lawmakers that there’s nothing wrong with investigations, as it is part of their duties, however, for now, the investigations would only jeopardise the chances of government to raise money.

“Secondly, I have told the National Assembly that there is nothing wrong with investigation.

“It is part of their responsibility, but for now they will jeopardise the ability of government to raise money if we continue to ask questions that will make China to raise eyebrow and start wondering what is wrong.”

He noted the ongoing probe might make Nigeria lose the loans for the Port Harcourt-Aba, Umuahia-Enugu, Markurdi, Gombe, Jos, Damaturu and Maiduguri projects. Adding that loans for the Ibadan – Kano, Ilorin-Minna and Kano projects might be lost too.

“And then the loan for Lagos to Calabar being pursued with the Russians may also be lost, and the areas covered include Ore, Bennin to Asaba, Onitsha, Warri, Uyo, Calabar.”

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