Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, on Wednesday commenced follow-up discussions with the management of the Chinese EXIM Bank in Beijing, China, on the implementation of the various projects discussed during the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to China.
Some of the priority projects, estimated to be completed in three years include the Nigerian railway modernization projects from Lagos to Kano – (Lagos –Ibadan) and Lagos – Kano (Kano – Kaduna) which are two parts of the same project; the coastal railway project from Calabar to Lagos, the Mambilla Hydro-electric project and the Niger Delta East West road project.
Others are Greater Abuja Water project, Abuja Mass Transit project, Galaxy Backbone project, NTA Digitalization, expansion of Abuja Keffi road, and the dualization of the Akwanga – Keffi road”, he said.
Media Adviser to the minister, Akpandem James, said in a statement Wednesday evening that Buhari had during a state visit in April reached various agreements with the Chinese government on the funding of some critical infrastructure in the country.
Udoma is in China specifically to attend the coordinators’ meeting of Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and Nigeria is involved in the ten critical areas of the forum.
In the meeting with the Vice President of EXIM Bank of China, Yuan Xingyong, at the bank’s headquarters, Udoma said Nigeria will appreciate the financial assistance from the bank to enable it execute some of the basic infrastructure projects that will drive growth, develop the economy of Nigeria and increase business partnership with its global business allies.
“Our relationship with China is very important to us, which was why our President led a big delegation on a State visit to China in April this year. We are quite impressed with the infrastructural development in China and believe that China has a lot to teach us in Nigeria; particularly we will like the support of China in the area of infrastructure development”, he told his hosts.
Udoma emphasised that a prosperous Nigeria will enable the country be a better economic benefit to China as the volume of business and investments will grow bigger and better.
Senator Udoma also mentioned other projects the Nigerian Government was considering such as the Presidential Initiative for the Rehabilitation of the North East and the Export Processing Zones that the Nigerian Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry was seeking to develop to attract companies wishing to locate in Nigeria to manufacture principally for exports.
Responding, Mr Xingyong said the bank enjoys a very sound relationship with Nigeria. “Nigeria is important to the bank because the two have been doing good business together and the country has a good record of repayment. The bank is willing to deepen the bilateral cooperation with the country and extend financial support for development purposes” he said.
He agreed that the priority projects will largely accelerate Nigeria’s economic growth. “We appreciate the idea of the EPZ. By establishing EPZs it will create the enabling environment for enterprises and provide revenue for Chinese business investments in Africa. Such EPZs will become a vehicle for international cooperation between China and Nigeria, and transfer of industrial capacity between the two countries.”
Xingyong said Chinese companies can partner EXIM Bank and look for investments in the EPZ. He pledged to continue to work with Nigeria in the development of some of Nigeria’s priority projects.