- The minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has expressed concerns over the probe of the federal government's loans
- Amaechi made the disclosure at an investigative hearing organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja
- The transportation minister noted that the investigations could make lenders withdraw loan facilities
Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria's minister of transportation has raised concerns over the probe of loans taken by the federal government, noting that it could send the wrong signal to lenders.
In a report by The Guardian, Amaechi, who made the observation at an investigative hearing in Abuja organised by the House of Representatives, explained that the probe could stop the loan facility.
The federal government plans to take a loan for the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan and Kano rail projects.
Speaking further at House committee's hearing, the minister said that the investigation could cause foreign partners to withdraw such loan facilities.
Amaechi while raising concerns over the ongoing investigation with the House of Reps Speaker Femi Gbajabimila, added that withdrawal of such loans could have a negative effect on Nigeria’s infrastructural development.
Nonetheless, the minister advised that the hearing should be shifted to December when the loan facility would have been acquired.
Nicholas Ossai, the chairman of the committee on treaties, protocols, and agreements on his part said the committee is empowered to conduct overnight before, during, or after loan facilities are acquired.
The Delta lawmaker also said that the committee seeks to review all Nigeria’s bilateral loan agreement to ensure the country is not shortchanged.
Back in 2019, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) secured the approval of a Federal High Court, Abuja to probe how the government handled the $460 million loan the country obtained in 2010 from China.
The loan was said to have been secured for the implementation of the controversial Abuja CCTV project.
The court presided over by Justice Anwuri Ichegbuo Chikere, granted SERAP the leave to force the minister of finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, to show details of payment of the loan to contractors.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the House of Representatives demanded a review or outright cancellation of the latest China loans to Nigeria on the principle of ‘force majeur’ in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic which started in China.
The lawmakers added that the National Assembly had been put in the dark on how most of the Chinese loans were taken and utilised.
The green chambers, therefore, mandated some committees to look into all extant China-Nigeria loan agreements since 2000 with a view to ascertaining their viability, as well as regularising and renegotiating them.
The decision of the House followed the adoption of a motion on the need to review and renegotiate existing China-Nigeria loan agreements, which was moved by Honourable Ben Igbakpa at the plenary on Tuesday, May 12.
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