By Dipo Olowookere The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has said Nigeria is presently battling with a financial crisis and would not be able to carry out its obligations unless it borrows money. Speaking during a live television show last Friday and monitored by The Nation, the former Governor of Rivers State said the federal government was forced to seek financial help elsewhere in order to build infrastructure for the benefits of Nigerians. Mr Amaechi was reacting to the public outcry on the $500 million loan the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari obtained from China. The National Assembly had raised an alarm over a sovereign immunity clause in the $500 million loan, saying that China was given the approval to take over the country\u2019s assets if Nigeria defaults in the payment of the credit facility. But the Minister warned that \u201cif the outcry is too much, then we will stop collecting loans, and when we stop, there will be no development.\u201d According to him, \u201cBefore we came, there was money, but now, we don\u2019t have money. It is just that we are on oath not to reveal the government\u2019s confidential matter. If not, I can say as the former chairman of the governors\u2019 forum, what was in the purse.\u201d Mr Amaechi explained that the clause in the loan deal being talked about was the normal thing in every agreement, but stressed that plans have already been mapped out on the repayment. \u201cThey are there in every loan signed and the borrowers want to know that the country they are giving money will be able to pay back. \u201cIt is a commercial agreement between Nigeria and China. Let us not look at the legal issues right now. The first issue is that the Ministry of Transportation does not take loans. Anything about loans has to be done by the Ministry of Finance, so I could not have signed a loan because it is not my jurisdiction. \u201cWhat I signed is what they call commercial contract between the federal government and CCECC as the contractor, and the contract between Nigeria and China is usually signed by the ministry of finance on behalf of Nigeria. \u201cWhether it is the Ministry of Finance that signed it or the Ministry of Transportation, the issue is that there is nothing of such that will not warrant an agreement, and that agreement must contain some terms, and one of those terms in this agreement is not that we are signing away the sovereignty of the country. What we do is to give a sovereign guarantee. \u201cWhat it means is that if tomorrow I am not able to pay back the loan and you come to collect the item we agreed upon, I cannot waive my immunity and say that you cannot touch the assets, because we are a sovereign country. The terms say if we are not able to pay, we should not stop them from taking back those items that will make them recover their fund. \u201cThe clause is a standard one whether it is America or Britain we sign an agreement with because the countries want to know if they can recover their money. \u201cWhat the clause does is to say to you that I expect you to pay the money according to the terms agreed, and if you don\u2019t pay, don\u2019t waive your immunity on me when I come to collect back the guarantee that you put forward. That is all,\u201d he explained. The Minister said $96 million has been paid out of the $500 million loan for the Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor, assuring that the projects being constructed with the funds would be used to repay the loan. \u201cThe Ministry of Finance the repayment and they are meeting the requirement,\u201d he said.