Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria's Finance Minister

By OBINNA EZUGWU

The Federal government has suspended plans to borrow $22.7billion from China Exim Bank, among other lenders for infrastructure development.

The plan had generated condemnations from many Nigerians who argued that the country was being plunged into heavy debt burden, even as the Southeast geopolitical zone which got none of the projects for which the sum was to be borrowed, had continued to kick against the plan.

Again, following the sudden collapse of oil price and the Coronavirus pandemic which had hit the Chinese economy hard, analysts had also wondered if China would be in a position to lend at the present circumstances.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed who announced the decision to suspend the plan said it was due to current realities in the global economic landscape.

The minister who spoke in Abuja on Monday at the 2020 International Conference on the Nigerian Commodities Market, organized by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, noted that the government would not go ahead with the borrowing programme even if it secures the approval of the National Assembly.

According to her, the decision of the government to suspend the borrowing was due to the fact that market indices do not support external borrowings at the moment.

“The parliament is still doing its work on the borrowing plan. One arm of the parliament has completed theirs and the other arm is still working and it is a process that is controlled by the parliament itself, so we are waiting,” she said.

“However, we are not going out immediately because the market indication is not in favour of external borrowing at this time. Even if we get approvals we will defer it and watch the market and go out only when the timing is right.”