Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister for Transportation

Why China may not extend $5.3bn credit facility to Nigeria ─Minister

*NASS enquiries may deter China from offering loan required for Ibadan-Kano Railway project

*Allow us complete $5.3bn facility from China, Rotimi Amaechi appeals to Federal lawmakers

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Expressing a concern that China may not be well-disposed to extend the $5.3bn credit facility required for the Ibadan-Kano Railway to Nigeria any longer, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister for Transportation, has appealed to the National Assembly (NASS) to halt its questioning of the contents of Nigeria’s loan agreement with China.

Amaechi Saturday, August 15 said interrogations by the NASS members are likely to discourage the Asian country from offering credit to the country, especially the $5.3bn required for the Ibadan-Kano Railway.

The Minister stated this during an inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project being primarily financed by Chinese banks, agency report says.

Amaechi stated: “They are not investigating corruption in construction. We want the National Assembly to allow us to get the loan for Ibadan to Kano, which is about $5.3billion.

“If you are telling the man who lent you money you don’t like the way he lent you, he won’t lend you any further.

“For this one (Lagos-Ibadan rail project), we have $1.6bn for which we are contributing about $200 and $300 million. But don’t forget, they have not finished paying, they can stop at any time.”

ConsumerConnect recalls that the House of Representatives had raised an alarm about the nature of loans received from China which, it said, puts the country’s sovereignty into question in the case of a repayment default.

Nonetheless, the Minister has maintained that the loans, which are primarily spent on capital projects built by Chinese companies, will benefit the country.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, and top Management personnel of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) accompanied the Minister for Transportation on the tour of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project Saturday, report stated.

The inspection was said to have started from the megastation at Ebute Metta to Apapa in Lagos and onwards Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The two Ministers inspected the construction of all boarding stations and yards along the route from Lagos to Ibadan.

Earlier while speaking to a Chinese construction official during the inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project, Amaechi expressed satisfaction at the pace of work, despite the delay caused by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

He said: “Let’s hope by January, this thing will be ready,” although he did not mention the time the project would be completed.

According to him, the Ibadan-Kano rail project is being delayed by the expected approval by the National Assembly to acquire a loan for its execution.

Alhaji Mohammed, said monies borrowed from China were being utilised judiciously for capital projects in the country.

Engr. Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director of NRC, disclosed that limited operations are likely to commence from Yaba to Ibadan in September 2020.

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