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$150m out of $500m Chinese loan on Abuja-Kaduna railway has been paid – Amaechi

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Nigeria has started repaying loans borrowed from China, according to Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transportation.

The federal government was looking for Chinese lenders to help fund a number of infrastructure projects, including standard gauge rail lines.

Nigeria’s overall borrowing from China, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO), was $3.12 billion as of March 31, 2020.

Nigeria has never defaulted on loans from other countries or international lenders, Amaechi claimed in an interview with Arise TV on Monday.

According to the ministry, President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration received $500 million from China, but just $150 million was refunded.

“What I am aware of is the fact that when you take the loan, you are expected to pay back, and as I am talking today, we are paying back,” he said.

“Under the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan, the loan for Abuja-Kaduna (rail line) was taken at about $500 million. As we are talking today, we have paid about $150 million on that loan, and Nigeria has never defaulted when it comes to loan repayment. I don’t also expect that we would default in any other loans that we have taken.

“The loan for Ibadan-Kano (rail line) is about $1.5 billion, the remaining $500 million came from our budget. I expect that whatever loan we take, we will be able to repay.

According to Amaechi, there is no condition in the loan deal that transfers federal government assets to China in the event of repayment default.

“I am not aware of whatever clause in the loan agreement that hands over any of our national assets to China.

“When you default, they may go to court and it depends on the outcome of the court case but I am not aware that there is any clause signed by this government or the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan that mortgaged any of our national assets.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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