Buhari in first official meeting with Economic Management Team

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari may today or in the next few days before his departure abroad meet with his economic team in a first official meeting, which will be held away from the prying eyes of the public, The Guardian learnt yesterday night. This is just as it emerged that how to maximize the trip to China next week will be the main focus of discussions.

The Economic Management Team, headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, includes the Chief of Staff to the President Alhaji Kyari, Deputy Chief of Staff, Ade Ipaye; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO).

Others are Agriculture Minister, Audu Ogbeh; Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed; Special Adviser on Economic Matters, Dr Oluyemi Dipeolu, a former director in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Knowledgeable sources told The Guardian that the oncoming trip to China is considered a “very big deal” because of the sheer quantum of “hefty concessionary loans” that the country will be getting from the China’s Export Import (EXIM) Bank which looks ready to offload billions of dollars it had kept in its vaults because Nigeria was not forthcoming with its own counterpart funds, a source said last night.

Insisting on not being named because he was not authorized to give details to the press, the source said a detailed government briefing will come before the President leaves for China. But he volunteered that the Chinese government has been very keen on Buhari’s visit, “because this is one thing they have already wanted to do.”

He added that it is not just the Lagos-Kano railway line that is on the table for continuation and completion, but also the Lagos-Calabar coastal rail line, intended to open up the country further and expand business opportunities along both axis.

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