The President, Transforming Uplifting and Reforming Nigeria (TURN) Dr. Adekunle Ahmed, has urged the federal government to re-evaluate loans its takes from the Chinese, insisting that the risks associated with the loans constitute clear, present and future danger to the nation’s economy.
In a statement in Lagos, yesterday, the president noted that “Nigeria’s external debt loan stands at $31.98 billion (Debt Management Office, DMO, September 30, 2020), The bilateral loans which are owed to individual countries are of concern, and none is as worrisome as the unprecedented yet increasing sum of money owed to China which now stands at $3.3 billion or 80.1 per cent of Nigeria’s bilateral debt load of $4.1 billion.
Ahmed said: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Nigeria of her increasing indebtedness to China. TURN’s evaluation of Chinese “investments” in Nigeria represents a sordid and unsustainable state of affairs that can in the end only hurt the Nigerian people. These loans are used for projects that end up promoting economic activities in China as the Chinese companies employ mostly Chinese citizens, with money that will have to be paid back by Nigeria. The loans minimally translate to Nigeria’s benefit as the control of all related activities are not in the hands of Nigerians. These are examples of direct foreign “investments” that negatively contribute to the Gross Domestic product as the valuable economic resources are promptly evacuated from Nigeria by foreigners. These trends need to be reversed. TURN would like to see concrete actions and a government white paper issued to address the concerns outlined above.”
TURN, he explained, would like to see the Federal Government conduct rigorous and transparent evaluation of all current and active loans.
He said: “Government needs to involve experts from the private sector to evaluate the risks and benefits of a loan and take all necessary steps to ensure that it truly benefits the country. TURN would like to see periodic review, monitoring and reporting by the Ministry of Finance or Presidency regarding Nigeria-China Loan agreements to ensure continued relevance for intended purpose and meeting regulatory scrutiny.”
He added that TURN believes that loans taken by the government should not mortgage the future of the citizens or that of the unborn generation adding that TURN is requesting that the terms and conditions of all loans be made publicly available and for the government to commit to the renegotiation of the terms and conditions that are inimical to Nigeria’s socio-economic progress.
“We ask that the Nigerian government take the necessary precautions to avoid debilitating and harrowing conditions that the citizens may face with a creditor that might endanger our sovereignty.
“In the spirit of transparency and accountability, TURN demands that the government reassures Nigerians that none of our national assets will be at risk in the case of a default. Nigeria is our own and we must collectively protect and nurture her to good health by getting involved in the process of redeeming and restoring to its greatness,” he said.