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13 May 2020

COVID-19: Reps seek review, cancellation of Chinese loans to Nigeria

House of Representatives yesterday mandated its Committees on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements, Finance as well as Debt Management, DMO, to liaise with the Ministry of Finance and the DMO Office to seek review or outright cancellation of latest Chinese loans to Nigeria on the principle of force majeur.

The House is also set to empanel a high powered investigation committee to look into all extant China/Nigeria loan agreements since 2000, with a view to ascertaining their viability, regularising and renegotiating them.

It said the National Assembly had been put in the dark on how most of the Chinese loans were collected and utilised by the federal government.
The resolutions came on the heels of the coronavirus pandemic which originated from Wuhan, China, last year and had affected the global community.

The parliament, which also underscored the urgent need to subject all subsisting Nigeria/ China contractual loan agreements to forensic fiscal scrutiny and review, noted the widespread global concern about the fraudulent, irregular and underhand characteristics of Chinese loan contracts with African states.

At the moment, there are at least 17 Chinese loans to fund different projects across the country. The House stated that the loans had almost resulted in a new form of economic colonialism foisted by China on the Africa continent.

The motion to this effect, titled “Urgent Need to Review and Renegotiate Existing China/Nigeria Loan Agreements” was moved at yesterday’s plenary under matters of urgent public importance by Ben Rollands Igbakpa from Delta State and considered by the lawmakers. Adopting the motion, the House resolved that henceforth, the need for loans should be in tandem with statutory obligations as prescribed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.


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