China has offered Nigeria a $6 billion loan to fund infrastructure projects, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyema, said yesterday in Beijing the Chinese capital. “It is a credit that is on the table as soon as we identify the projects,” “It won’t need an agreement to be signed; it is just to identify the projects and we access it,” he said.
The confirmation by Onyema coincided with an agreement reached between Nigeria and China yesterday on a currency swap deal, as it looks for ways to shore up the naira and fund a record budget deficit, possibly by issuing yuan-denominated bonds in China, reported Reuters.
Beijing also signed agreements to develop infrastructure in Nigeria, part of a drive to deepen its ties with Africa. ICBC signed a $2 billion loan deal with Dangote Group, the company owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, to fund two cement plants it plans, he told Reuters.
China’s official Xinhua news agency cited President Xi as telling Buhari that there was huge potential for economic cooperation, naming oil refining and mining.
Aly Khan Satchu, a portfolio manager at Rich Management, said the deal would pave the way for panda bonds but this would not be enough to ease pressure on the naira. Towards this end, Buhari has directed that technical committees should be established immediately to finalise discussions on the new joint Nigeria/China rail, power, manufacturing, agriculture and solid mineral projects.
PUNCH reported that Buhari had at the talks, welcomed China’s readiness to assist Nigeria in her bid to rapidly industrialise and join the world’s major economies.
The statement said that President Jinping agreed that Nigeria’s chosen path of development through economic diversification was the best way to go.
To help Nigeria to achieve this, China promised to fully support the country through infrastructure development and capacity building.
China also expressed an interest in setting up major projects in Nigeria such as refineries, power plants, mining companies, textile manufacturing and food processing industries as soon as the enabling environment is provided by the federal government. In response to Buhari’s desire to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production, Jinping offered $15 million agricultural assistance to Nigeria for the establishment of 50 Agricultural Demonstration Farms across the country.
Shehu said China and Nigeria also agreed to strengthen military and civil service exchanges as part of a larger capacity-building engagement. In line with this, China offered to raise its scholarship awards to Nigerian students from about 100 to 700 annually. In addition, 1,000 other Nigerians are to be given vocational and technical training by China annually.topics from