The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi maintains that no country gives out a loan without a guarantee that it’ll be paid back.
He said in a statement that the loan the Nigerian Government secured from China for the rail projects across various parts of the country will be paid back over the next 20 years.
Amaechi revealed that China was the only country providing loans with a low-interest rate of 2.8 per cent.
He said, “The trade agreement between Nigeria and China, the ministry of transportation does not take loan, everything about loan is directed to the Ministry of Finance, so, I couldn’t have signed any loan because I don’t take loan.
“What I signed is what is called commercial contract, which is contract between the Federal Government and CCECC as a contractor, the contract between Nigeria and China is usually signed by the ministry of finance.
“Whether is the ministry of finance that signed it or the ministry of transportation, the issue is that nobody will give you loan free of charge.
“There must be an agreement and such agreement must contain some terms, that doesn’t mean that you are signing away the sovereignty of the country, no country will sign out its sovereignty.
“What clause 8 says is, I expect you to pay according to those terms we have agreed, if you don’t pay, don’t throw your immunity on me when I come to collect back the guarantee that was put forward, that is all.”
Amaechi further declared that taking a loan without the approval of the National Assembly is unconstitutional and he’s only holding back on publishing the clauses of the agreement due to confidentiality in government reasons.
He added, “The National Assembly is aware of all these loans, we can’t take loan without the National Assembly, so ask why they are investigating? The Chinese are just asking us to show them the evidence that we will pay back which is the immunity clause. If we don’t pay, they can take back their assets.
“The payment plan is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance, ours is to implement the contract. They are meeting the requirements, at any point in time that we need to pay, we’ll pay.
“$1.6bn was taken to fix Lagos to Ibadan, we are asking for $5.3bn to fix from Ibadan to Kano, $3.2bn to fix Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, then Lagos to Calabar which is about $11.1bn, if those things were done when we had money, will we be here today? The answer is no.