The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has said if Nigeria defaults on loans repayment, China has right to take over those assets and run them until it recovers its money.
The minister spoke to journalists on Wednesday at Idu train station in Abuja during a COVID-19 protocol compliance and inspection after rail operation resumed.
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The House of Representatives in their probe of Chinese loans to Nigeria found that the agreements ceded Nigeria’s sovereign right on the assets financed by the loans to China if there was payment default.
But Amaechi said: “What the Chinese normally do is that they go after the same asset to recover their money. So what is wrong with that? You are asking for $5.3bn. Just give that sovereignty. Now for me, the National Assembly in its wisdom thinks that is wrong, then they should tell us how to get the money to build these infrastructures.”
The loan to construct Ibadan to Kano rail is $5.3bn, and is being planned. He said there was nothing wrong with the investigation but that it should not jeopardise the government’s means of raising capital for long-term infrastructure development.
On the Abuja-Kaduna rail service loan, he said the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has already opened an account where operating surpluses would be deposited monthly to raise money to start the $1.1bn loan repayment.