Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga
By Chinedu Eze
The Nigeria, Chinese bilateral trade relations has hit about $13.3 billion dollars since February, 2011. It is predicted that business between the two countries would continue to grow by over 15 per cent in the coming years.
This was disclosed on Wednesday by the National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer, the Nigeria, China Business Council and Africa, Chief Matthew Uwakwe at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Uwaekwe remarked that the growth of the Chinese economy could be attributed to robust economic policies formulated by the Chinese government to encourage Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SME) and also the attraction of huge investment from other countries after the most populous nation on earth created conducive business environment for foreign investment.
He also disclosed that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Chinese government has greatly increased due to the policies that have been put in place to help SMEs to thrive in the country, stressing that China was now an export giant to be reckoned with in the world.
The Coordinator, however, urged the Federal Government to formulate policies that would encourage the private sector and create an enabling environment that would encourage foreign investment and make the cost of doing business in the country cheaper.
“The Federal Government must formulate policies that will encourage the private sector and create the enabling environment for them to thrive if she is to be amongst the industrialized nations in the year 2020”
Uwakwe said that one of the major objectives of Nigeria, Chinese Business Council was to strengthen the effort being made by the government in attracting investors and investment into the country.
“No nation can develop without paying attention to SME. Because SME contributes 30 to 40 per cent of most countries like Germany, United State and some European countries. And the essence of this is that there should be direct investment which should help us export more than import”.
Uwaekwe said the Federal Government should diversify the economy by encouraging investment in the non-oil sector, adding that the country has a lot of mineral resources she could generate revenue from.
“We must develop non-oil based economy in favour of our economy. We should not have a nation that solely bases their revenue income on oil. We have a whole lot of solid minerals in the northern part of Nigeria and in some other states. When that is achieved, I believe that the economy of this country will improve and each and every one of us will be a beneficiary. If we can come together and harness all these potential as a nation that will now help us to move forward.” he said.
Uwaekwe further disclosed that the council was doing everything to ensure that the influx of substandard products from Asian countries into Nigeria was reduced, remarking that it was one of the challenges facing the council.
“The Chinese government has agreed to penalize any company found to be exporting substandard products to Nigeria, and such a company would be closed down if found culpable”