President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday that Nigeria had gained from China the execution of infrastructure projects worth $5bn across the country. The President said under the partnership with China through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the projects had been executed in the last three years of his administration.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying this on Tuesday in Beijing at the FOCAC round-table attended by African leaders and the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
Buhari dismissed insinuations that the Chinese loans to developing countries could constitute a debt trap, insisting that Nigeria would be able to repay the loans. He said, “These vital infrastructure projects synchronise perfectly with our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“Some of the debts incurred are self-liquidating. Our country is able to repay loans as and when due in keeping with our policy of fiscal prudence and sound housekeeping.”
According to Buhari, Nigeria through the support from China, has addressed significant challenges in the areas of infrastructure, human capacity development, power, transport, agriculture and humanitarian assistance. He said an example of the projects was the construction of the first urban rail system in West Africa worth $500m, which was inaugurated in July.
The President was quoted as saying, “For Nigeria, our partnership with China through the FOCAC platform, has resulted in the construction of the first urban rail system in West Africa. This $500m project in Abuja was inaugurated in July this year.” Buhari also cited the construction and operation of the first rail system in Africa that uses modern Chinese standards and technology.
He stated, “This 180km rail line that connects Abuja and Kaduna was inaugurated two years ago at a cost of $500m. “Today, the rail line is functioning efficiently with no issues – indeed, a sign that Chinese technology is world-class.”
He also said Nigeria is leveraging Chinese funding to execute $3.4bn worth of projects at various stages of completion. The President added, “These include the upgrading of airport terminals, the Lagos-Kano rail line, the Zungeru hydroelectric power project and fibre cables for our Internet infrastructure.
“Furthermore, less than three months ago, Nigeria signed an additional $1bn loan from China for additional rolling stock for the newly-constructed rail lines as well as road rehabilitation and water supply projects.’’