The Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose has taken the rift between him and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to another height as he wrote a severely critical letter to the Chinese government urging them to stop the $2 billion trade loan to the Nigerian Government.
As contained in Governor Fayose’s letter, he said “the government of China should be mindful of the fact that Nigerians, irrespective of their political and religious affiliations are totally opposed to increment of the country’s debt burden, which is already being serviced with 25 per cent of the Federal Government annual budget.”
Fayose’s letter was dated April 12, 2016, with reference number EK/GOV/28/10, addressed to President Xi Jinping of China and delivered in Abuja on Thursday by Barrister Dipo Anisulowo, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, through the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Gu Xiaojie.
Anisulowo, who delivered the letter in the company of the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Segun Adewumi, Chairman House Committee on Information, Gboyega Aribisogan, Chairman House Committee on Health, Dr. Samuel Omotosho and Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, disclosed that Governor Fayose, who is in China at the moment, will personally deliver a duplicate of the letter to the President of China, Xi Jinping as part of his ongoing official trip to the country.
Governor Fayose’s letter partly read:
“I write as one of the major stakeholders in the project Nigeria, and a governor of one of the federating units making up Nigeria, to draw your attention to report that the Federal Government of Nigeria is on the verge of obtaining a $2 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China.
“This $2 billion loan is part of the N1.84 trillion the Federal Government of Nigeria has proposed to borrow to finance the 2016 budget, which is yet to be signed by the President, Muhammadu Buhari owing to unending controversies between the Executive and Legislative arms of government.
“According to reports, Nigeria desires to raise about $5 billion abroad to cover part of its 2016 budget deficit. This is projected to hit N3 trillion ($15 billion) due to heavy infrastructure spending at a time when the slump in global oil prices has slashed the country’s export revenues.
“While conceding that all nations, especially developing ones need support to be able to grow because no nation is an island, I am constrained to inform you that if the future of Nigeria must be protected, the country does not need any loan at this time.
“The government of China should be mindful of the fact that Nigerians, irrespective of their political and religious affiliations are totally opposed to increment of the country’s debt burden, which is already being serviced with 25 per cent of the Federal Government annual budget.”
Governor Ayodele Fayose explained that some of the projects which where part of the reasons why the loan was being sought were not encapsulated in the highly controversial 2016 budget, which has been sent for assent to the President by the National Assembly, citing the Lagos – Calabar Rail project. He further justified his position on the $2 billion loan stating that Nigeria is presently servicing debt with about 25 per cent of its annual budget, expressing concern over what the nation’s economy will be in 2017, when the country begins to service the additional debt to be incurred this year.
“The Chinese government must also be aware that some western nations approached by the Federal Government for loan diplomatically and cleverly declined.
“Therefore, like the foreign aid that is reportedly being mismanaged, whatever loan that is granted to the Federal Government of Nigeria by the Chinese Government may be mismanaged too”, Governor Fayose’s letter revealed.
The Ekiti State Governor also told the Chinese government that President Buhari earlier claimed that Nigeria has enough money following the implementation of the Treasury Single Account and increased tax revenues, in addition to the recovered and still recovering trillions of Naira allegedly looted from the treasury, using as an example the over $200 billion expected to be recovered from Dubai, the United Arab Emirate and the N3 trillion which was said to have been saved from the Treasury Single Account (TSA). Fayose went on to disclose that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has also said it will generate not less than N4.5 trillion this year.
Having presented a well articulated argument on the justification for his stand on the loan issue, Governor Fayose’s letter was brought to a close with the question, “What then is the rationale behind the $2 billion loan from China?”