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FG To Sign Loan Deal With China For Infrastructure Devt

By Afolabi Joseph

President Muhammadu Buhari will be signing a loan deal with China during his planned visit to the country from April 11-15.

The loan, according to a report, would be used to finance infrastructural projects in the country.

President Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, who said that the president will be signing the loan deal, did not disclose the worth of the loan.

“I can’t tell you how much until the day the loan will be signed. Both countries will also be signing some bilateral agreements to strengthen their relationship, that is all I can say now,” he said.

Nigeria has been in talks with China’s state export import bank for a loan for months, which when granted would be used to fund construction works of Chinese firms for infrastructure projects in Nigeria.

Our correspondent also learnt that financial and government sources had in February said that the loan could be as high as $2 billion, but there has not been an update since then.

Newsherald, from the report learnt that the country has indicated its desire to raise about $5 billion abroad to cover part of the 2016 budget deficit, which could be as high as 3 trillion naira ($15 billion).

According to the report, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, had earlier said in Beijing that Buhari would visit China from April 11-15 to sign ‘cooperation agreements’ and attend a business forum.

The report noted that Buhari, who was elected in March 2015 on a promise to fix mismanagement and corruption, wants to turn around the economy by investing in power plants, transport and infrastructure, adding that Chinese construction firms have been upgrading Abuja airport and building several railway projects in the country.

The report also said that the country has said it wanted to raise $1 billion from Eurobond investors, but noted that no deal has publicly emerged.