The Federal Government has dismissed the fears of many Nigerians over the possibility of China taking over some infrastructure in the country if the country fails to pay back loans it collected from the China-Exim Bank.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, made this clarification on Monday, at the 6th Annual East African Transport Infrastructure Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Why are Nigerians Scared? China has recently taken over infrastructures in many African and some Asia countries that were unable to repay their debts. Even countries like Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and others are on the verge of losing their infrastructures to China as a result of unpaid loans.
Infrastructure forfeiture is not part of the agreement: Amaechi assured Nigerians that the loan agreement the Nigerian Government has with China doesn’t involve forfeiting the country’s infrastructure if the loan is not paid.
“I don’t know the arrangement these countries made with Exim Bank, I do not think we will have any problems with repaying our loans.
“The countries that they are talking about are Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. These are countries that have not been able to repay their loans, I think. So what they (China) are doing is that they are taking over to manage and get their money. But it is not so in Nigeria.”
How much does FG owe China? Nairametrics had earlier reported that as at September 2018, the country was owing China about $5 billion.
Nigeria is working on a repayment plan: Amaechi further explained that the Federal Government is already talking to China to to arrange for a meeting in June where they would be able to come up with a repayment plan.
Meanwhile Nigeria’s debt keeps piling up: The Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha, disclosed that Nigeria’s total external and domestic debt is N24.38 trillion, and the capability of Nigeria to repay these debts is questioned.