Nigeria may have fallen into China’s dept trap through a purported signing of loan documents in Chinese language. Such error could commit the country into complicated loan terms that may not have been negotiated during the consultation period.
A member of the House of Representatives, Ben Ibakpa, had on Channels Television morning programme, Sunrise Daily, on Thursday alleged that Nigerian officials signed loan documents with China written in the Chinese language.
Ibakpa, representing Ethiope Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, however, said the National Assembly is not being consulted when the federal government takes loans from China.
The lawmaker decried that most Nigerian officials do not thoroughly check the loan documents before signing; “Some of these documents come in the Chinese language,” he added.
Ibakpa had declared: “The National Assembly is kept in the dark in all these loans. The National Assembly is not part of it. Even the Bureau for Public Procurement is not aware of these loans.
“These loans are collected via the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). They bring a bill; the Federal Executive approves the bill.” The House of Representatives member advocated that the Buhari administration came on board with anti-corruption mantra; and, therefore, should be more prudent with the loans, observing that award of contracts stimulates corruption.
The lawmaker challenged members of the National Assembly to correct whatever was not done right in the past on public finance in Nigeria.
Ibakpa also stated that lawmakers know little about all expenditures in the 2020 budget. He protested the allocation of N2 trillion to debt servicing, yet the federal government is still acquiring more loans and accumulating huge debts.
“We are taking about over N2 trillion appropriated for debt servicing. We appropriate and we don’t know how this money is being spent. That is, we need to look into what has been happening since 2002.”
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