Diversification of Nigeria’s economy urgent, says Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Guangzhou, China said his administration would take urgent steps to restructure Nigeria’s economy by encouraging new investments in mining, agriculture and manufacturing.
The President, who stated this at a reception in his honour by the Communist Party of China, said Nigeria would welcome the support of the Chinese government, foreign investors and local businesses for efforts to diversify the country’s economy.
A statement issued in Abuja by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, quoted the President as saying that the diversification of the Nigerian economy was long overdue, as continued reliance on crude oil exports had always made the economy vulnerable to shocks.
“This time we will be more deliberate. The government and businesses will be involved,” Buhari said.In his remarks, the Secretary of the Communist Party, who is also the Governor of the Guangdong Province, Mr. Hu Chinhua, pledged that the region would support the implementation of all the bilateral agreements reached with the Chinese government during Buhari’s visit.
The statement added that Buhari also visited the Sino-Singapore Knowledge City in Guangzhou, “which showcases advancements by China in medical, science and technological inventions.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported Shehu as saying the President has expressed satisfaction with the outcome of his working visit to China, which he said yielded additional investments to Nigeria exceeding $6billion.
Buhari said the several agreements concluded with the Chinese would have a huge and positive impact on key sectors of the Nigerian economy, including power, solid minerals, agriculture, housing and rail transportation.
“In the power sector, North South Power Company Limited and Sinohydro Corporation Limited signed an agreement valued at $478,657,941.28 million for the construction of 300 megawatts solar power in Shiriro, Niger State.”
“In the solid minerals sector, Granite and Marble Nigeria Limited and Shanghai Shibang signed an agreement valued at 55 million dollars for the construction and equipping of granite mining plant in Nigeria.”
According to the statement, a total of $1billion is to be invested in the development of a greenfield expressway for Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos under an agreement reached by the Infrastructure Bank and Sinohydro Corporation Limited.
It further said that both companies also sealed a $250 million deal to develop an ultra modern 27-storey high-rise complex and a $2.5 billion agreement for the development of the Lagos Metro Rail Transit Red Line project.
Other agreements announced and signed during the visit, according to the statement, include a $1billion facility for the establishment of a Hi-tech industrial park in Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Igbesa, Ogun State.
The statement said that the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone and CNG (Nigeria) Investment Limited also signed an agreement valued at 200million dollars for the construction of two 500MT/day float gas facilities.
It further stated that an agreement, valued at $363 million for the establishment of a comprehensive farm and downstream industrial park in Kogi State was also announced at the Nigeria-China business forum.
In addition, agreements undergoing negotiations include a $500 million project for the provision of television broadcast equipment and a $25 million facility for production of pre-paid smart meters between Mojec International Limited and Microstar Company Limited.
According to the statement, about 100 Nigerian businesses and 300 Chinese firms participated in the Nigeria-China business forum, which took place a day after Buhari began his v isit to China.