President Muhammadu Buhari has dispelled concerns from various quarters describing the loans from the Chinese government as a “death trap”, noting that the Nigerian government would repay the loans “as and when due”.
In a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), the president also restated the present administration’s commitment to boosting investment relations between both countries.
Buhari disclosed this on Tuesday in Beijing, at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Round Table meeting, attended by African leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“These vital infrastructure projects synchronize perfectly with our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. Some of the debts incurred are self-liquidating. Our country is able to re-pay loans as and when due in keeping with our policy of fiscal prudence and sound housekeeping,” he said.
According to Buhari, “For Nigeria, our partnership with China through the FOCAC platform, has resulted in the construction of the first urban rail system in West Africa. This $500 million project in Abuja was commissioned in July this year.
“This 180km rail line that connects Abuja and Kaduna was commissioned two years ago at a cost of $500 million. Today the rail line is functioning efficiently with no issues ― indeed, a sign that Chinese technology is world class.”
The president also noted that “Nigeria is leveraging Chinese funding to execute $3.4 billion worth of projects at various stages of completion. These include the upgrading of airport terminals, the Lagos – Kano rail line, the Zungeru hydroelectric power project and fibre cables for our internet infrastructure.
”Furthermore, less than 3 months ago, Nigeria signed 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.”
He expressed optimism that the summit would offer new opportunities that would build on these past achievements, adding that, ”Nigeria will continue to support the FOCAC initiative and also seek to key into the Belt and Road Initiative as an additional Chinese mechanism to build further cooperation in our quest for infrastructural and economic development.”