James Emejo in Abuja
Benue State Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom has urged Chinese investors to establish manufacturing plants in Nigeria and transfer technology to Nigerians to help fast track the development of the economy as well as bolster the friendly relations between both countries.
He said in as much as the Nigeria is willing to do business with China, the former should “give us the technology, we are not interested in importing finished goods from China.”
Speaking in Abuja at the Nigeria-China Investment Forum/Celebration of 45th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between the two countries, Ortom said: “Today, Nigeria is living off China from clothing to foods to spare parts-almost everything. That’s not helpful to the economy of Nigeria and not helpful to the friendliness of the country of Nigeria and that of China.”
Represented by the Deputy Governor of Benue State, Mr. Benson Abounu, the governor said: “We are interested in China coming here to establish a good productive base in order to help the economy of Nigeria and also the economy of China.”
He added: “The government of Benue State like other governments would now make it very easy to do business and that’s the most important thing. We will provide land and make sure you get title to land within a month so that we can fast track the development of this country.”
It however, emerged that China had so far invested a total of over $2.5 billion in the nation’s economy particularly in areas of petroleum, solid minerals, telecommunications, broadcasting, construction materials and agriculture.
This was disclosed by the Charge d’Affairs of Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Qin Jian adding that Nigeria remained China’s premium engineering contract market, third largest export market as we’ll as fourth major trading partner one of the major destinations of Chinese investment in Africa.
He said: “We have witnessed frequent high-level exchange between the two sides and the political, mutual trust has been enhanced continuously, President Muhammadu Buhari has paid a successful state visit to China in April this year and during the visit, the leaders of our two countries exchanged in-depth views on bilateral relations and issues of common interest were reached while the new direction of future development of China-Nigeria strategic partnership was charted.”
He also said that the bilateral trade volume between the two countries from January to July this year stood at $6.46 billion which represented 7.6 percent of the total trade volume between China and Africa and 36.4 percent of total trade volume between china and ECOWAS.
Jian said: “In the area of people -to-people exchange, the bonds are also becoming closer as time goes on, according to my knowledge, several Nigerian people, especially, the young ones who are very enthusiastic in leaning Chinese language have been given the privileges to come to china to learn the language successfully., we have successfully too, invited over 100 African Ambassadors to china where we introduced them to top Chinese businessmen, all these are paying off today as the mutual cooperation in getting stronger by the day.”
According to him, the Chinese government will continue to promote infrastructure development in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Nonetheless, in his presentation, the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari said that in line with the present government agenda, the Federal and State governments had come to realise and accept the necessity for the diversification from mono economy which had led to over or near total dependence on oil whose revenue income has now turned out to be insufficient and unsustainable.
“Owing to the dwindling nature of global demand and supply of the product and aggravated by unpatriotic management of public resources by previous leaders, it is indeed imperative to search for veritable platform for the new investment diversification drive and its viable investment mechanism as it could adequately and conveniently serve as our engine for economic growth and eventually for overall sustainable development”, he said.
Furthermore, he said in order to ensure proper economic integration and linkages between agricultural and industrial sectors on raw materials for agro- allied industries, the state government had chosen three value chain crops including rice, cotton and tomato and has secured the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s approval for participation in its anchor borrowers programme on massive production of rice and wheat.
He listed other possible areas opened to investments by the Chinese government to includes, Solid minerals, solar power, and infrastructures.