By THE STATE OF THE NATION TEAM
The Chinese government, has withheld the $20 billion concession loan earlier promised to Nigeria, until after due verification, a Presidency source confirmed, on Monday morning.
A top Presidency source, who is privy to the development, disclosed in a report, that the Federal has expressed disappointment that the money was withheld.
Chinese Analysts, have however predicted that the current economic downturn in Nigeria, would dent the country’s credit worthiness.
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Recall, that in 2015, China had at a Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, FOCAC, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, pledged $60 billion assistance to countries on the continent, including Nigeria, to develop and grow their infrastructure, and human development capacities.
According to the Presidential source, government immediately swung into action, after President Muhammadu Buhari’s return from a visit to China, as well as, the follow-up visit of the Budget and National Planning Minister, Udo Udoma, to immediately fulfill the conditions for accessing the loan.
Reacting to the loan rejection, the source said: “The Chinese government was advised by its Economic Experts who visited Nigeria for physical assessments, to exercise caution, citing the shrinking economy, and falling value of the naira as reasons.
“They also alluded to high risks in diverting the loan to projects not specified in the agreement, and requested a direct monitoring of the projects, in addition to the need for full compilation of all current trade agreements between the two countries, till date.
“A team of Experts from China Exim Bank, had also expressed fear of possible mismanagement of the funds, and requested an overhaul of some of the priority areas presented by the Federal Government, for closer study on their viability and sustainability.’’
The Chinese Financial Experts, it was further learnt, expressed reservations about some areas the Federal Government was keen on investing the loan, saying they did not fall in line with the FOCAC vision