China’s BRI leads to debt sustainability problems, excludes locals from decision making in Nigeria
Though some Nigerian politicians have hailed China for the Belt and Road Initiative, the BRI has led to the problem of debt sustainability and local Nigerians have been excluded from decision-making and project implementation, Hong Kong Post reported.
“The managing director of the Nigerian engineering and construction company Dutum Company Limited, Temitope Runsewe, observed that “These Chinese companies show up with cheap funds from China… They will tell their government, “Just show us the projects, and we’ll organise and begin building.” Most of our government officials simply give in to this extreme allure instead of strengthening local capacity, Hong Kong Post reported.
Even Nigeria’s national senate bemoans the opaqueness of loan arrangements negotiated by the administration and state banks in China. This continues a pattern identified by AidData: Loan agreements in China sometimes have “far-reaching secrecy restrictions.” BRI projects in Nigeria are steeped in secrecy, corruption, and flagrant contempt for domestic laws as a result of the country’s inadequate institutional capabilities.
As a result, there aren’t many thorough connections between China’s massive initiatives in Nigeria and the home economy. Chinese companies, technology, and capital are typically tied to development assistance, which poses a threat to local economic actors. Nigerian construction firms are already complaining that they are excluded from BRI projects.
Aside from the problem of debt sustainability, local actors in Nigeria have been excluded from decision-making and project implementation because of the operationalization of the BRI in that country. For instance, only 28 per cent of Nigerians, far below the 33-country average of 47%, are aware of Chinese “loans/development assistance” in their nation, according to an Afrobarometer survey.
Nigeria’s transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi, replied by urging these businesses to increase their capacity to carry out such huge projects. These domestic businesses are actually operating under a system that disadvantages them.