Experts in Nigeria raise concerns over country’s rising indebtedness to China

Abuja: Experts in Nigeria have raised concerns over the country’s rising indebtedness to China, saying that it is a recipe for economic slavery.

Experts and all members of Transforming Uplifting and Reforming Nigeria (TURN), a non-governmental organisation, hold a very strong view that the loans from China come with a lot of baggage and as such demand that the nation’s economic managers should exercise caution, reported The Nation (Nigeria).

TURN President, Dr AG Ahmed warned that loans taken by the government should not mortgage the future of the citizens or that of the unborn generation.

The government should 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, he said. 

“Nigeria’s external debt loan stands at USD 31.98 billion (Debt Management Office, DMO, September 30, 2020), most of which are owed to well-known international creditor agencies with which Nigeria has had a long history of dealing, like many other developing countries. In contrast, 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 USD 3.3 billion or 80.1 per cent of Nigeria’s bilateral debt load of USD 4.1 billion,” The Nationa (Nigeria) quoted TURN President as saying.

“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,” he added. 

The TURN President said all loans from China are claimed to be on concessional terms according to the DMO.

“However, details of the loans are shrouded in secrecy and the demands of Nigeria’s Fiscal Responsibility Act, (FRA) for concessional loans have not been transparently met. The risks associated with the Chinese loans constitute clear, present and future danger despite the relatively small proportion of the loans to Nigeria’s overall debt,” Ahmed added.