By John Ikani
The Federal Government of Nigeria is seeking $14.4 billion from Standard Chartered Plc to fund an upgrade of a narrow-gauge track in the South-East and the building of a standard-gauge on the nation’s coast.
The development is a departure from its original resolve to source the loan from a syndicate of lenders based in China.
This was revealed by the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi in an interview with Bloomberg.
“We’ve moved away from China in some of our projects,” the minister said on Saturday in Abuja, and added during his discussion with Bloomberg that Zainab Ahmed, his counterpart in the finance ministry, would lead Nigeria’s talks with Standard Chartered.
However, the railway infrastructure will be constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC), which has entered pact with the government.
What you should know
British multinational Bank, Standard Chartered focuses on providing financing to African, Asian and Middle East markets.
Standard Chartered commenced operation in Nigeria 22 years ago, and midwifed the inflow of investments in the sum of $2.5 billion into Africa’s largest economy in 2020 alone of the total $9.7 billion, the biggest by any bank, Bloomberg said Thursday, citing data from the statistics office.
Choosing not to borrow from China could be a ploy by the government to cut Nigeria’s exposure to the country, which stood at $3.4 billion as of the end of March, going by the figures issued by the debt office on Wednesday.
Nigeria spent about 12.6 per cent or $195.5 million of the entire money it used to service its external debt last year to pay part of its debt to China.