President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday solicited the support of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, for the 3,050 Megawatts (Mw) capacity Mambila hydroelectric power project, located in Taraba State.
This is even as the even as Nigeria and China signed $328 million agreement for Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase II (NICTIB II) project as part of the two countries take-away from the just concluded Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit, held in Beijing, China.
A statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, indicated also that a Chinese firm unveiled plans to invest $200 million in an industrial park in Kano State, cotton farms in Funtua, Katsina State and textile and garment manufacturing establishments in Aba, Abia State and Lagos.
Shehu stated that the $328million concessional loan agreement between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI) was signed by Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adesoun and Director-General of China’s International Development Agency, Wang Xiaotoa, and witnessed by the two countries’ leaders.
In addition, the President’s aide also disclosed that Nigeria and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR) with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Director, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, He Lifeng, signing the OBOR pact for the two countries.
According to him, the OBOR is one Xi Jinping government’s initiatives which focus on improving connectivity and cooperation among multiple countries spread across the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe.
Shehu quoted the Nigerian President as saying that the Mambilla project remains a key priority matter to Nigeria and also sought additional Chinese funding for four airport terminal projects as well as the Abuja light rail project.
Buhari was also reported to have commended the Chinese government for successfully hosting FOCAC summit as well as for accepting to support the international efforts to tackle the Lake Chad Basin crisis.
The President said that the inclusion of this project in the FOCAC Action Plan 2019 to 2021 would go a long way in supporting our efforts to rehabilitate and resettle the conflict-impacted North East region.
Buhari noted that easy movement of citizens of both Nigeria and China would complement the currency swap agreements recently signed by the central banks of both countries.
He said: ‘‘Since our last meeting two years ago, Nigeria has relaxed its visa requirements to Chinese citizens. Today, I am pleased to inform Your Excellency that Chinese citizens receive Nigerian visas in less than 48 hours.
‘‘Another measure that will improve our trade volumes will be to introduce import duty waivers on Nigeria’s commodity exports to China. Today, our commodities such as sesame seeds, hibiscus and cassava amongst others attract import duty in China,’’ Buhari added.