Two Chinese banks –Export-Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank –have committed in loans about $1.902bn into railway and deep seaport projects in Nigeria.
The Commercial Consul, Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr Liu Junsheng, made this disclosure on Tuesday, during a press briefing on China’s second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held in Beijing between April 25 and 27.
According to Junsheng, the Export-Import Bank of China provided $1.267bn dollars of concessional loans for the Lagos-Ibadan section of the Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project as well as the extension to Lagos Port Complex at Apapa.
He explained that the ‘Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project Addendum No.2 Lagos-Ibadan section was signed with a contract sum of $1.488bn, and Addendum No.2A for the extension to the Lagos port complex at Apapa with a contract sum of $94.07m, totalling $1.581bn.’
He said, “The Export-Import Bank of China provided $1.267bn of the concessional loans accounting for 80.14 per cent of the total contract sum of Addendum No.2 and 2A; and the Nigerian Federal Government provides counterpart funds of $314m, accounting for 19.86 per cent.”
Junsheng recalled that the construction of the railway project by CCECC commenced in May 2017, adding that works commenced simultaneously in different sections of the project with over 10,000 foreign and local employees and over 1,600 sets of equipment.
He said, “As of the time of this report, over 80 per cent of the foundation works and over 100 kilometres of double-track laying have been completed. Further, track laying to Ibadan is progressing at a rate of 2km per day. The project is planned to be completed in May 2020.”
The commercial consul added that $635m out of the total investment of $1.05bn for the Lekki Deep Seaport would be provided by the China Development Bank.
He said the term sheet of the loan agreement for the seaport project was signed during the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.
Junsheng said, “The total investment of the port Phase I is expected to reach $1.05bn. Among the total investment, about $635m will be financed by the China Development Bank. The term sheet of a loan agreement of Lekki Deep Seaport Project was signed during the Belt and Road Forum on 26th of April, 2019.”
With a 16.5-metre water depth, the Lekki Deep Seaport, located at the heart of the Lagos Free Trade Zone, will upon completion, be one of the deepest ports in West Africa and Central Africa regions, according to the commercial consul.
“As one of the most modern, efficient ports in sub-Saharan Africa with the capacity to berth large vessels, it will make Lagos a trans-shipment hub in West Africa and Central Africa,” he added.
Earlier, the Acting Consul General, Mr Guan Zhongqi, described the Belt and Road Forum as the most important diplomatic event China had hosted in 2019.
During the forum, he said Chinese President Xi Jimping stressed that connectivity was vital to advancing the Belt and Road co-operation.