Gov. Yari briefs Buhari on China’s $4.5bn credit line for agric development
Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara on Tuesday in Abuja updated President Buhari on the developments over the 4.5 billion dollars credit line obtained from China to boost agricultural activities in Nigeria.
Addressing State House correspondents after briefing the president on the credit line, Yari disclosed that an agreement for the agricultural loans was signed with Chinese government during the State Visit of President Buhari to China in April 2016.
Yari, who briefed President Buhari alongside the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the credit line was meant for procurement of strategic machinery for rural development and agriculture.
According to the governor, Nigeria has successfully negotiated for a 10 per cent as against the initial 25 per cent counterpart funding for the loan.
“They are giving us a credit line of $4.5 billion which will cover the (procurement of) machinery and infrastructure; that is rural earth dams, irrigation and interestingly this loan has a 20 years repayment term with 5 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 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.
The governor expressed the hope that the machinery, when supplied, would transform the nation’s agricultural sector and diversify the economy.
According to Yari, President Buhari has given his commitment and also asked the state governments to engage the ministers of finance; budget and national planning and the Central Bank Nigeria to conclude the negotiation.
He said the minister of agriculture would make presentation on the loan to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) before forwarding it to the National Assembly for final approval.
On the controversy over Paris club refund, Yari, who is the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, dismissed the allegations of fraud in the disbursement of the refund to states.