China loans to Nigeria estimated at $2.554 billion
It is no longer news that Nigeria is heavily indebted to China. According to Nigeria’s Debt Management Office, DMO, Chinese credit, which stood at $2.554 billion in 2019, accounts for 80 per cent of all bilateral lending to Nigeria.
China provides loans to build railways, power plants and airports, helping to bridge a huge infrastructure gap in Nigeria, but there may be more to the Chinese loans than Nigerians realise.
On Thursday, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Ben Ibakpa revealed that some Nigerian officials sign loan documents from China in the Chinese language.
Mr Ibakpa said this on Thursday when he appeared on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, claiming that the National Assembly is not carried along when the country takes loans from China.
According to the member representing Ethiope Federal Constituency, the National Assembly has been kept in the dark before now, adding that the lawmakers, will, however, play more active role when the country wants to take loans from China.
“The national assembly is kept in the dark in all these China loans. The National Assembly is not part of it,” the lawmaker said. “Even the Bureau for Public Procurement is not aware of these loans.
“These loans are collected via the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). They bring a bill, the Federal executive approves the bill.”
He claimed that “from what we have seen from other countries, the China loans are overpriced and these people are very corrupt.”
Speaking further, he said the present government having campaigned with an anti-corruption mantra, should do better as corruption is fueled by awarding of contracts.
Mr. Ibakpa, claimed that some Nigerian officials do not critically look into loan documents before signing, and said that “some of these agreements that are signed, they come in Chinese language”.