Nigeria won't develop if we stop collecting loans, says Amaechi/ Rotimi Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says Nigeria will stop developing if it stops taking loans from other countries.

The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has come under attacks from several quarters over its penchant for taking loans, with Nigeria's debt profile surging at a geometric rate.

Recently, loans taken from China became a subject of heated controversies with many expressing concerns over certain clauses conceding Nigeria's sovereignty to the Asian country.

But addressing the dusts, Amaechi stated that the need for loans was informed by the fact the current administration met an empty treasury on ground when it came on board in 2015.

The minister, who spoke while featuring on a programme on AIT, however, dismissed claims that the country was ceding its sovereignty to China, adding that the said the clause is only a diplomatic agreement between both parties to ensure payment is made accordingly.

His words: “Whether it is the ministry of finance that signed it or the ministry of transportation, the issue is that nobody will give you loan free of charge. There must be an agreement and such agreement must contain some terms. That doesn’t mean that you are signing away the sovereignty of the country; no country will sign out its sovereignty.

“What clause 8 does is to say to you, I expect you to pay according to those terms we have agreed. If you don’t pay, don’t throw your immunity on me when I come to collect back the guarantee that was put forward, that is all.

“When we stop collecting the loans, then we stop developing because there was no money when we came into government; by the time we came, the money had been blown away.

“What you do is, you give a sovereign guarantee and that guarantee is the immunity clause they are talking about. When we say I give you a sovereign guarantee and we get immunity clause, the immunity clause is that if tomorrow I am not able to pay you and you come to collect the items that we have agreed upon, these are items that I am putting down as guarantee. I can waive my immunity and say no you can’t touch it, I am a sovereign country.

“So, they are saying if you are not able to pay, don’t stop us from taking back those items that will make us recover our funds. Is China our father that will give us money for free? It is a standard clause in every agreement, whether it is America we signed it with, whether it is Britain, any country would want to know that they can recover their money.”