FG allays fear of Chinese financial assistance

The Federal government has allayed the fear of many Nigerians who have reservations about the financial assistance being given to the country by China Exim bank due to property take over by the Chinese.

China has taken over infrastructures in many African countries that could not repay its debt. Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Kenya among other countries are facing the pressure of forfeiting their infrastructures to China over unpaid debt.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said on Monday in Nairobi, Kenya at the 6th Annual East African Transport Infrastructure conference that, the agreements Nigeria entered into with the China Exim bank does not include property takeover in case of Nigeria’s inability to repay.

According to him, ‘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 .

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“The countries that they are talking about are Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. These are some 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 mange and get their money but its not so in Nigeria”.

He said “In fact its affecting our ability to borrow and they are now saying look, we can’t lend to you because these people are not ready to pay back. How do we know you are going to pay back!”.

“We are talking with them to have a meeting with them to say that by June, we should be able to say this is our repayment plan. It also depends on what agreement plan you have with them, our agreement does not include the fact that they will come and take over our sea ports or railways or airports.

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“We believe that we can pay back using our own money

Amaechi lamented that, “If you don’t go to China, who will give you money! America is going to China even Russia, what is wrong if Nigeria goes to China, I think we should not be afraid of China”.

The Minister explained that “nobody runs railway with passengers fare. You can never get one naira out of it. Nigerians think railway is just to carry passengers but the problem is that the goods that should be on the rail are the ones on the road and its destroying the road. Once we conclude the rail projects and those goods are transferred to the rail, that is when we will start making money to pay our debts.

Also speaking, the Director of Operations with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Niyi Alli said the country’s rail has fallen from what it used to be many years ago.

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According to him, Nigeria “had total over 3,500 Kilometers of narrow gauge lines with over 350 bridges, 20 quarries, 300 stations. Had over 250 different classes of locomotives and over 3,500 vehicles for passengers”,

He stated that freight and special purposes Social impact increased economic activities along the corridors and developed villages into commercial towns.

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