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Sri Lanka-China bonds enhanced by military university alumni association

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Sri Lanka-China bonds enhanced by military university alumni association

Sri Lanka-China mutual cooperation was emphasized at the inauguration of the country’s first-ever association for Sri Lankan alumni of the People’s Liberation Army National Defence University (PLA NDU) in Colombo on Thursday.


Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Chinese National Defence University Alumni Association of Sri Lanka, retired Major General Vijitha Ravipriya said the organization would serve as a bridge to connect PLA NDU alumni in Sri Lanka with its alma mater in China, and help continue the centuries-long friendship between the two countries.

“China has always extended ready assistance to the Sri Lankan military by way of coordinating more and more armed personnel for military training,” Ravipriya said.

Ravipriya, who will serve as the first president of the organizing committee, made an open call to all PLA NDU graduates to actively engage in the affairs of the association in order to keep abreast of academic developments, mentor younger generations in the armed forces, and take Sri Lanka-China relations to new heights.

Guest of honor at the inauguration ceremony, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Major General Kamal Gunaratne, said that the founding of the alumni association was a step towards facilitating the historical military bond and bilateral relations between China and Sri Lanka.

“Sri Lanka-China relations have been growing through mutual trust built on political, economic, cultural, educational and, most importantly, defense diplomacy and cooperation,” Gunaratne said.

He added that the university in Colombo was an internationally reputed seat of education which has shared its knowledge and wisdom with officers from around the world. Sri Lankan alumni of the PLA NDU have excelled in safeguarding the country through times of war, he said.

Meanwhile, the International College of Defense Studies of the NDU PLA, in a letter signed by Major General Xu Hui and Rear Admiral Cao Jianqi, hailed the association as an opportunity to “strengthen strategic communication between the two countries and militaries… and make greater contributions to build the community with a shared future of mankind.”

The PLA NDU is a military university based in Beijing and administered by the People’s Liberation Army. It was founded in 1985 and offers training to officers from around the world.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

China’s manufacturing sector shows strong recovery – Survey

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China’s manufacturing activity expanded in July at the fastest pace in almost a decade, according to a private survey released on Monday, though employment continued to drop in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.


The Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 52.8 for July, compared to 51.2 in June.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while one below shows contraction.

The survey indicates the quickest monthly expansion of manufacturing output and new orders since January 2011.

Meanwhile, new business from overseas fell at the slowest rate in six months.

The index beat analysts’ expectations and comes as China has largely contained the coronavirus crisis and most companies have resumed operations.

Nevertheless, employment dropped for the seventh consecutive month.

While some companies hired more workers to meet production needs, others laid off employees to cut costs, the survey showed.

“To increase employment, manufacturers will need more time and confidence,” said Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group.

Official manufacturing data released last week also indicated a recovery.

The official manufacturing PMI came in at 51.1 in July compared to 50.9 in June.

China’s economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter of the year, according to official data, after contracting 6.8 per cent in the first quarter due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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China Loan: Amaechi says Nigeria will pay back in 20years

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi says Nigerian government has the capability to pay back loans collected for the construction of rail projects within the stipulated period of 20 years.


Amaechi, in a statement on Saturday, said China was the only country giving out loans with a low interest rate of 2.8 per cent.

He said no country in the world would give out a loan without a guarantee to pay back such loans.

“The trade agreement between Nigeria and China, the ministry of transportation does not take loan, everything about loan is directed to the Ministry of Finance, so,  I couldn’t have signed any loan because I don’t take loan.

“What I signed is what is called commercial contract, which is contract between the Federal Government and CCECC as a contractor, the contract between Nigeria and China is usually signed by the ministry of finance.

“Whether is the ministry of finance that signed it or the ministry of transportation, the issue is that nobody will give you loan free of charge.

“There must be an agreement and such agreement must contain some terms, that doesn’t mean that you are signing away the sovereignty of the country, no country will sign out its sovereignty.

“What clause 8 says is, I expect you to pay according to those terms we have agreed, if you don’t pay, don’t throw your immunity on me when I come to collect back the guarantee that was put forward, that is all.

“We are paying the loans. In the same National Assembly sitting, they were told that of the 500million dollars loan, we have paid 96 million dollars already, Nigeria is already paying.

“And the 500 million dollars was not taken by us, it was taken by President Goodluck Jonathan in his term and that clause was there.

“Nigeria has the capacity to pay back for the period of 20 years at 2.8 per cent, which country will give you that loan? Secondly, these loans are not given to us, they are paid directly to the contractors.

“Once they sign that the job has been done, they pay the contractors and that has never happened before and this project are in place. Are they trying to rubbish the fact that there is a railway from Abuja-Kaduna?

“There is no loan in Nigeria, either internal or external that is not approved by the National Assembly, none.

Chinese government will not even give you a loan without an approval by the National Assembly because if they give you a loan without the approval from NASS that is no loan,” Amaechi explained.

The minister further said the government needed the loans to boost infrastructure in the country.

According to him, the sovereign guarantee and sovereign immunity clause raised by the NASS is a term used to ensure that loans collected are paid back.

The minister said in the case of a default, only the assets constructed with such a loan would be taken back.

He said: “What you do is you give a sovereign guarantee and that guarantee is the immunity clause they are talking about.

“When we say, I give you a sovereign guarantee and we get immunity clause, the immunity clause is that, if tomorrow I am not able to pay and you come to collect the items we have agreed upon, that these are the items that am putting down as guarantee, I can waive my immunity and say no you can’t touch it am sovereign country.

“So, they are saying, if you are not able to pay, don’t stop us from taking back those items that will make us recover our funds. So, is China our father that will give us money for free?

“It is a standard clause in every agreement whether is America we signed it with, whether is Britain, any country would want to know that they can recover their money.

“Anybody that is saying he doesn’t know what a sovereign guarantee or immunity is, too bad for the person, because it simply means in trade that I am not giving you this loan free of charge.

“Just like you go to the bank to collect a loan, the moment you don’t pay they go after your assets you put down, that is all about the clause, the Chinese can never come and take over Aso rock and become President or Minister.

” And if the assets you put down become depreciated then you negotiate which assets they can go after. Chinese will never take over what was not constructed with the loan.”

Amaechi noted that it would be unconstitutional to take a loan not approved by the NASS, but for confidentiality in government he would have published the clauses generating the dusts.

The minister while asking the reason for the investigation by the NASS added that they were aware of all the loans.

He said:” The Chinese is just asking us to show them the evidence that we will pay back, which is the immunity clause. If we don’t pay, they can take back their assets.”

On the Zambia experience, where the country could not meet up with its loan agreement, the minister said that the Chinese government will never take over infrastructure that was not constructed from the money taken.

He also acknowledged that the finance ministry in a payment plan had started paying back some of the loans collected.

He said the payment plan was the responsibility of the ministry of finance, and the Ministry of transportation was supposed to implement the contract.

“They are meeting the requirements, at any point in time that we need to pay, we’ll pay. 1.6 billion dollars was taken to fix Lagos to Ibadan, we are asking for 5.3 billion dollars to fix from Ibadan to Kano.

“3.2 billion dollars to fix Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, then Lagos to Calabar which is about 11.1billion dollars, if those things were done when we had money, the infrastructure will be here today? The answer is no,” Amaechi added.

The minister, however, called on the National Assembly and Nigerians to appreciate government effort in providing infrastructure in the country.

Amaechi noted that the Itakpe /Warri rail project in the South South,  which was abandoned for thirty four years by successive governments was fully rehabilitated by the present administration without seeking for loan.

Edited By: Yakubu Uba/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Foreign

Canada’s economy up 4.5 percent in May

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Canada’s gross domestic product grew 4.5 percent in May because businesses reopened after unprecedented economic lockdowns due to the COVID-19 spread in March and April, according to Statistics Canada on Friday.


May saw rebounds across multiple industries with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, including retail trade that registered a 16.4 percent surge to mark its largest monthly increase since 1961.

May’s gains offset some of the March and April declines, economic activity remained 15 percent below February’s pre-pandemic level.

In May, 17 of 20 industrial sectors posted increases.

Both goods-producing industries rose 8 percent while the services-producing sector was up 3.4 percent.

Preliminary information indicates an approximate 5 percent increase in GDP for June and an approximate 12 percent decline in real GDP in the second quarter of 2020.

Owing to their preliminary nature, these estimates will be revised on Aug. 28 with the release of the official GDP for June and the second quarter.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Iraqi PM says early elections to be held on June 6, 2021

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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Friday set June 6, 2021, as a date for the early elections, which is part of his government’s political program.


“I announce that June 6, 2021, will be the date for the early parliamentary elections and we will do our best to give success to this elections by protecting it and provide its needs,” al-Kadhimi said in a televised speech.

“I ask the parliament to send the electoral law to the presidency for approval, and that the electoral commission to enjoy full independence, in addition to that the elections to be held under international observers,” al-Kadhimi said.

Al-Kadhimi’s comments came after he held a meeting on Thursday with the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), during which he confirmed that the government “is proceeding with the early elections, which is one of the main goals of the government program.”

Late last year, the Iraqi parliament passed most of the elections draft, but differences remained on a few articles due to political row among the political blocs.

On May 6, al-Kadhimi was sworn in as the new prime minister in Iraq, following the approval of the parliament on most of his cabinet members.

(XINHUA)

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