The House of Representatives is set to grill ministers and other top Federal Government officials on Monday, 17 August 2020, over Nigeria’s external borrowings, especially borrowings from the Export-Import Bank of China.
The House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements earlier had summoned the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami; and Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, among others.
Mr Nicholas Ossai, the Chairman of the Committee, had said on Sunday that the sitting had been adjourned to August 17 (today) and those summoned were expected to appear before the panel.
The lawmakers earlier stated concerns about the implications of the loan agreements Nigeria signed with China, stating that the agreement might force the country to concede its sovereignty to the Asian country if the loans were not paid back.
The panel sat on July 28, 2020, to begin an investigation into the external loans taken by Nigeria, beginning with a $500 million loan taken from China for rail projects and also grilled the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; asking him to reappear before it on August 17.
The rail projects which were slated to be funded by the loan include the Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan, Ibadan-Kaduna, and Kaduna-Kano railways lines.
Amaechi who had previously appeared before the committee said the probe would send a wrong signal to China which could stop the land thereby thwarting the nation’s rail projects.