Tuesday 24th October, 2017
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Buhari orders fast-track of China's $4.5bn agric loan to Nigeria

Buhari orders fast-track of China's $4.5bn agric loan to Nigeria

President Muham­mad Buhari has directed the Min­istry of Agriculture and Rural Development to liaise with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Ministries of Fi­nance and Budget/Na­tional Planning to speed up the $4.5 billion agri­culture loan promised Nigeria by the Chinese government.
The credit facility, which is repayable in 20 years but with a five-year moratorium and at one per cent, was agreed on during Buhari’s of­ficial visit to China in April last year.
It is to assist state gov­ernments and the Fed­eral Capital Territory (FCT) in the procure­ment of strategic ma­chinery for rural devel­opment and agriculture. These include tractors, bulldozers, graders, ir­rigation pumps, and others.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Fo­rum (NGF) and Gov­ernor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, an­nounced the presidential directive on Tuesday af­ter a closed-door meet­ing with Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
Yari told State House correspondents that the Chinese government and the People’s Bank of China “are giving us a credit line of $4.5 bil­lion which will cover the machineries and infra­structure for rural earth dams, irrigation; and the loan has a 20-year re­payment term with five years moratorium.
“Initially, we started negotiations to drop a counterpart funding of 25 per cent, but under­standing the economy of Nigeria, we negotiated to give a counterpart fund­ing of 10 per cent which we believe Nigeria can do and we are targeting the Natural Resources Fund for the counterpart funding.
“We are now speaking with the Chinese group and the Nigerian gover­nors and the technical committee that was set up by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“So, we have now come to a stage where the President needs to come in so that he can give us a leadership role and a kind of approval of a certain level so that we can forge ahead.

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