The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has frown over the new economic colonization imposed by China over loan agreement with Nigeria. The group, HURIWA said that the situation may affect the future and slave labour camp of China.
The House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols, and Agreements, discovered a clause in a Chinese loan contract that supposedly puts Nigeria’s sovereignty at risk in the event of default.
About Nigeria and China Loan: The contract in question was a 2018 loan for $400 million from the China Exim Bank to build Nigeria National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Backbone Phase II Project.
How much does Nigeria owe China?: Nigeria owes China about $3.1 billion, more than 10% of the $27.6 billion external debt stock.
Failure to Pay Back the Loan: The chairman of the House committee also said there are agreements signed by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy where the country’s sovereignty will be breached if it defaults in the agreements.
HURIWA View on Chinese Loan: The group noted that generally, there are global concerns about the alleged fraudulent, irregular, and underhand features of Chinese loan contracts with some African countries, which had resulted in a new form of economic colonialism foisted by the Asian giants.
It noted that since all Chinese loans are tied to infrastructural developments, some of the African nations have had to forfeit their stakes in the infrastructure, which they used as collateral after they defaulted.
According to HURIWA, one of the most cited examples of alleged debt-trap diplomacy by China is a loan given to the Sri Lankan Government by the Exim Bank of China to build the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport.
Nigeria-Chinese Loan Pay Back Period (PBP): HURIWA noted that Nigeria has obtained about17 Chinese loans to fund different categories of capital projects, and the PBP of the Chinese Loan is till 2038, which is the maturity date for the last loans obtained in 2018.
HURIWA View on Nigeria’s ability to Pay Back: HURIWA thinks that Nigeria would not be able to pay back the Chinese debts due to the country’s lack of accountability, transparency, and responsibility amongst others to refund the loans.
Note HURIWA’s Three Factors over the repayment of the loan
- “What it means is that we lack the ability and we don’t have the headroom anymore to repay because our independent revenue has been strangulated by our enormous debt hanging over the Federal Government as it stands now,” the group said. Also, it said that the increasing Chinese loan is an indication that the nation has not considered the history of Chinese loans.
- “Out of 64 countries that host the Chinese Belt and Road initiative projects, 20 have gone under distress and 8 are about to lose their sovereign debt sustainability if they should take any further loan. If that was supposed to be a good guide, it means Nigeria needs to be very careful with this type of loan contract which threatens our sovereignty.
- “More worrisome is that the Nigerian Government is currently facing a legal battle to overturn the judgment of a United Kingdom Court that awarded a $9 billion debt payment in the Process and Industrial Development deal (P&ID),” HURIWA noted.
HURIWA’s Statement to Federal Government of Nigeria: “We are by this Statement demanding that the Nigerian Government should within the next 72 hours pull away from the toxic and enslaving loan agreement with China, which threatens our sovereignty.
“We blame President Muhammadu Buhari for attempting to foist a situation whereby most Nigerians will not be able to opt-out of the Future and slave labour camp of China, which is what the loan agreement is all about. A stitch in times saves nine,” HURIWA said.
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