President Muhammadu Buhari said Chinese loans to Nigeria were not “debt trap” as being purported, noting that the nation was able to repay all the loans as and when due.
This was contained in a statement on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, President Buhari was dispelling insinuations on how the Asian nation could be putting Nigeria under a massive debt through its financial support.
It said Nigeria’s partnership with China has resulted in the execution of critical infrastructure projects valued at more than $5 billion over the last three years.
It added that the projects being funded were perfectly in line with Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), adding that “some of the debts incurred are self-liquidating.”
“Let me use this opportunity to address and dispel insinuations about a so-called Chinese ‘debt trap’. We have completed and flagged off West Africa’s first urban rail system, valued at $500 million, in Abuja. Before then was the 180km rail line that connects Abuja and Kaduna, completed and commissioned in 2016, and running efficiently since then,” the statement read.
Buhari said Nigeria was leveraging Chinese funding to execute $3.4 billion worth of projects at various stages of completion, including upgrading of airport terminals, the Lagos – Kano rail line, Zungeru hydroelectric power project, and fibre cables for the country’s internet infrastructure, among others.
“Less than 3 months ago, Nigeria signed an agreement for an additional $1billion loan from China for additional rolling stock for the newly constructed rail lines, as well as road rehabilitation and water supply projects,” it added.
Two days ago, the presidential spokesman in a separate statement had said the two nations would sign a $328 million agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
On Monday, China pledged a total of $60 billion financial support for projects in Africa, but noted the funds are not for “vanity projects” but for building infrastructure that can remove development bottlenecks.