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China to Lend Nigeria a $4.5 Billion Loan to Boost Agriculture

Photo: Daily Trust

According to Audu Ogbeh, Nigeria's minister of Agriculture, and Abdulaziz Yari, Zamfara State Governor, China has confirmed that it would lend Nigeria $4.5 billion to boost its agriculture. The loan will enable Nigeria to purchase farming tools including tractors, bulldozers, graders, irrigation pumps, amongst others.

Messrs. Yari and Ogbe said they signed an agreement with the President Muhammadu Buhari which engages all the states including FCT from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for the procurement of strategic machinery for rural development and agriculture; tractors, bulldozers, graders, irrigation pumps, tarsiers and so on from China.

"Of all the partners we have, the Chinese have shown the willingness to see us out of our problems, because about 30 years ago they were in the same crisis. They see us as people in the same circumstances that they were then and they are willing to help us get out of it and we appreciate it, the president does." ‎ Commenting further, the minister said President Muhammadu Buhari directed them to liase with the Ministry of Budget and Planning, Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to sort out the technical requirements.

"The President responded well. He asked us to get in touch with the Ministry of Budget and Planning, Finance and CBN to sort out all the technical details and move on with it", he said.

Mr. Yari, on his part, said that the expected loan was $4.5 billion.

"They are giving us a credit line of $4.5 billion which will cover the machineries and infrastructure that is rural earth dams, irrigation and the loan has a 20 years repayment term with 5 years moratorium," the governor said.

"Initially we started negotiations to drop a counterpart funding of 25%, but understanding the economy of Nigereria, 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 and the ministry 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.

Mr. Yari said the goverment is making a huge progress with the partnership, adding that China is coming first to support the country.

"The president has given us his commitment and also asked us to engage the minister of finance, budget and national planning and the CBN to conclude and then the minister of agric will make presentation to council, then to the national assembly for final approval," he added.
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