Senator Ayo Arise has said the National Assembly will ensure Nigeria gets favourable terms when negotiating for loans, stressing that the lawmakers have a responsibility to make sure the country does not enter into the “Chinese debt trap.”
Arise said this on Wednesday during his appearance on Newspot’s Sunrise Daily.
Arise while admitting that the country needs funding to develop its infrastructure, said there is a need for Nigeria to thoroughly look into the terms of loans from China.
“On one side, we need money to develop our infrastructure, and on the other side, the National Assembly has the responsibility to ensure that we do not enter into negotiations that will actually put this country into the so-called Chinese debt trap,” he said. “So, it is a good thing that this is coming into the open.”
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Arise who was the Chairman, Committee on Privatization in the 6th Senate admitted that though the terms of the agreements on the loans may not be rewritten, the National Assembly will ensure the future of the country is not jeopardized.
“Even if nothing is directly achieved in terms of rewriting whatever agreement we had in the past,” he said, “the National Assembly will use this opportunity to ensure that terms are defined for international loans and ensure that there is no agreement that would actually jeopardise the future of this country and our sovereignty in terms of our assets.”
While citing Kenya, Djibouti, Malaysia and Sri Lanka as countries grabbling with the repayment of foreign loans, Arise called on the Nigerian government to plan how to effectively repay the loans.
“There are so many examples all around the world particularly in the African continent and Asia that leaves a lot of concern to people of those countries,” Senator Arise said.
He added, “If proper planning is not put into it, 30, 20 years might seem like a long time, but it will soon be here.”
On Monday, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi appeared before the House of Representatives Public Hearing on Treaties and Protocols.
During the hearing, Amaechi said he is unaware of an N33 billion contract by the Ministry of Transport but only a $1.6 billion contract.
According to him, the action of the committee is political, claiming that the investigation by the lawmakers suggested that the various arms of government do no support the loan.