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Amaechi gives reasons for taking Chinese loans

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On Friday, July 31, the minister of transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi gave reasons why the government made the decision to opt for Chinese loans over others. The minister said in comparison with the other western countries, the Chinese loans had lower interest rates, better repayment plan and moratorium.

The minister made these comments during an interview on AIT, he said if the country stopped taking loans that would bring an end to infrastructural development in the country.

“People are asking if Nigeria has the capacity to pay back the loans. We will pay back. A loan given for 20 years at 2.8 per cent; which (other) country will give you that? I mentioned that these loans are paid directly to the contractors, once we sign that the job has been done. What is critical is that the projects are in place.

“Compared to the loans we got from the Western countries, this is at 2.8 per cent, for 20 years with seven years moratorium. Why won’t we pay back?” the minister said.

He went on criticizing the previous government for not carrying out any infrastructural projects that if they had done there jobs well the country won’t have had to start taking loans from the Chinese. He said “I just thought that the National Assembly and Nigerians should at least acknowledge the fact that we are making progress in terms of infrastructural development.

“When we stop collecting the loans, then we will stop developing because there is no money. Before we came, the money had been blown away. There were no funds.”

In addition, Amaechi faulted the claims that Nigeria will give up part of its sovereignty to the Chinese, he said the clause was just to make sure that we pay back.

He added,

No country will sign away its sovereignty. The clause says ‘I expect you to pay according to the terms that we agreed on, but if you don’t pay, when I come to collect the assets you used as guarantee, don’t wave your immunity at me and say you can’t touch our assets because we are a sovereign country.”

What you do is to give a sovereign guarantee, which is the clause generating reactions. And I’m ashamed by those interpreting it the other way.”

“It’s a standard clause in every such agreement, whether it is the United States or the United Kingdom that we are signing it with, because they want to know if they can recover their money.

“What the clause does is to say ‘I expect you to pay according to those terms that we have agreed on, if you don’t pay, when I come to collect the assets you used as guarantee, don’t wave your immunity at me and say you can’t touch our assets because we are a sovereign country.”

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