Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has failed to answer a u he was asked while on a Channels Television programme.
On the show, he was asked why Hong Kong is the third party in one of the loan deals between China and Nigeria.
$400 million loan was obtained for Galaxy Backbone, the government’s information and communication technology (ICT) agency, In the commercial loan agreement between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China.
When Amaechi appeared on the Channels TV programme yesterday, he was asked to name the country which was chosen as the third party for arbitration on the agreement as required by international conventions.
The anchor said “If you look at convention of this sort of international arbitration when it comes to trade agreements of this nature, there is usually a third party nation in this sense. Which is the third party nation when Nigeria went into this agreement with China?” the anchor asked.
In response, Amaechi asked him, “What do you mean by that? What third party nation,” before adding that “until there is arbitration, you can’t just assume a third party is.”
“What if we don’t to arbitration? Supposing, by next year, the president gets angry and says, gentlemen, pay off the $400 million that is remaining and that will be the end of that particular loan?” he further asked.
The anchor then said he is privy to the loan agreement with China, and “it does take Hong Kong as the third party in that sense, and Hong Kong is part of China.”
“And that is one of the issues that have been raised over the agreement,” he said.
The minister then queried why he was “interested in who is the third party and who is not the third party?”
He said it becomes criminal when a borrower begins to plan on defaulting, asking why the anchor would believe that they plan to default.
“Why are you not interested in the fact that we have already paid about $98 million; that we meet our obligation every month? So, by the next 10 years that is outstanding, we would have paid the $400 million outstanding.
“Why are you not interested in that? Why are you interested in who is the third party and who is not the third party? And these are standard terms in an agreement. Why?”
When the anchor probed further on why Nigeria allowed China to choose Hong Kong as the third party country, Amaechi responded: “I have answered you.”
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