Chinese loans: Reps to interrogate Amaechi, Ahmed, others today

The House of Representatives will on Monday (today) grill ministers and other top officials of the Federal Government over Nigeria’s external borrowings, especially from China.

The House Committee on Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements had summoned the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami; Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; and Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, among others.

Chairman of the committee, Mr Nicholas Ossai, told our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday that those summoned were expected to appear before the panel today.

Ossai said, “We are sitting tomorrow; we adjourned to August 17. We expect everybody to be there.”

The committee had earlier on July 28, 2020, grilled the Minister of Transportation, asking him to reappear before it on August 17.

The panel had on July 28, 2020, begun an investigation into the external loans taken by Nigeria, beginning with a $500m loan taken from China for rail projects.

The lawmakers had raised the alarm over loan agreements Nigeria signed with China, pointing out that the agreement might force Nigeria to concede its sovereignty to the Asian country if the loans were not paid back.

But Amaechi, who appeared before the committee, had said the probe would send a wrong signal to China, which could stop the loans, thereby thwarting the nation’s rail projects.

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