This Day (Lagos)

17 September 2012

Nigeria: CNPP Faults FG's U.S.$1.1 Billion Chinese Loan

The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) Sunday expressed reservations over the propriety of the recent $1.1billion loan agreement between Nigeria and China.

In a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, CNPP said the reason given by the Federal Ministry of Finance that the credit facility is meant to fund high priority and high impact projects is spurious.

He described the move as attempt to push the country into another debt trap.

"With the recent $1.1billion Chinese loan granted to Nigeria; our dear country is regrettably not only sliding back into unconscionable foreign debt trap, but Chinese neo-colonialism, "he said.

Okechukwu recalled that 10 years ago, the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was hailed for doling out $12.4 billion to exit Nigeria from the Paris and London debt trap and Western imperialism.

However, Okechukwu expressed worry that Nigeria may be heading "towards an unconscionable debt squad and Chinese imperialism".

"Had it not been for the patriotism of the members of the National Assembly, Nigeria's foreign debt profile could have sky-rocketed over the roof; as earlier in the year, Okonjo-Iweala had written to the National Assembly requesting for $7.9 billion foreign loan for sundry purposes.

"Whereas, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) agrees that some of the projects for the loans and in particular the $1.1billion Chinese credit facility are of high priority and of high impact, which as the Ministry of Finance canvassed are designed to have practical economic effect and make life better, more convenient for all Nigerians of all socio-economic groups; however with Excess Crude Account of over $8billion and billions fleeced off corruptly, there is no justification for subjecting sovereign Nigeria to Chinese imperialism or any for that matter.

"Why on earth is the Federal Government of Nigeria borrowing $100million for Galaxy Backbone, when the private telecommunications companies like GLO, MTN, Microsoft, Huawei, Ericsson, Etisalat, ZTE and co. are busy doing same across the federation in partnership with Nigerians?

"In sum, with unprecedented oil revenue, Nigeria has no genuine cause to return to foreign debt trap; as a careful study of Chinese neo-colonialism in Africa shows that like all known imperialism in history; it is exploitative, anti-people, anti-democratic and ruthless," he said.

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