Nigeria must be viewed as an investment destination—Buhari
President Buhari has lauded China’s promptness to assist Nigeria to rapidly industrialize and join the world’s major economies.
Analyzing the gap between Nigeria and China’s economy, yesterday at the opening of the Nigeria-China Business/Investment Forum, Beijing, China which he stated as being beneficial to Asian countries, Buhari urged for a beneficial and reciprocal economic relations between both countries.
Research has shown that the business and trade relations between Nigeria and China for a decade has increasingly appreciated, with bilateral trade volumes rising from $2.8 billion in 2005 to $14.9 billion in 2015.
Of this figure, Nigeria recorded 8.3 per cent of the total trade volume between China and Africa and 42 per cent of the total trade volume between China and the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, countries in 2015.
He charged Nigerian and Chinese business communities to be diligent while working together, so that the trade imbalance between both countries would decrease saying: “Although the Nigerian and Chinese business communities have recorded tremendous successes in bilateral trade, there is a large trade imbalance in favor of China as Chinese exports represent some 80 per cent of the total bilateral trade volumes. This gap needs to be reduced.
“Therefore, I would like to challenge the business communities in both countries to work together to reduce the trade imbalance. “You must also imbibe the spirit of having a mutually beneficial relationship in your business transactions.
You must not see Nigeria as a consumer market alone, but as an investment destination where goods can be manufactured and consumed locally.”
The President also ordered immediate establishment of technical committees (Committees on New China, Nigeria’s project) to finalize discussion on infrastructure projects discussed with the Chinese government.
This came as President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China offered $15 million agricultural assistance to Nigeria for the establishment of 50 agricultural demonstration farms across the country.
Besides, the Chinese government pledged to increase its scholarship assistants to Nigeria from 100 to 700 students on a yearly basis. Signing of agreements, MOU
These developments occurred prior to the signing of a plethora of mutual agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, MOU, between Nigeria and China in Beijing, yesterday.
Both President Buhari and President Jinping, who led their respective country officials, witnessed the events.
The agreements included a “Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Development and Reform Commission of the Peoples Republic of China.”
Others were a “Memorandum of Understanding on Aviation Cooperation Between the Ministry of Transportation (Aviation) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Ministry of Commerce of the Peoples Republic of China” and a “Memorandum of Understanding Between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Government of the Peoples Republic of China on Scientific and Technological Cooperation”.
And lastly, a “Mandate Letter Between the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Central Bank of Nigeria on Renminbi (RMB) Transactions” was also signed.
Speaking after talks between his delegation and high-ranking Chinese government officials, led by President Jinping, President Buhari directed that the technical committees would accelerate their task aiming at concluding them before May ending.
President Jinping, in his address, acknowledged that economic diversification was one sure way of achieving prosperity, he further pledged to provide Nigeria with infrastructural support.