…pledges more investments in Nigeria’s power sector
The Chinese government on Wednesday committed to refinance and complete the Abuja-Kano and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects.
President of the Peoples Republic of China, Xi Jinping, made the pledge while responding to requests made by President Bola Tinubu who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, at a bilateral meeting with the Chinese leader in Beijing,” a statement signed by the VP’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Stanley Nkwocha, on Wednesday.
The statement is titled ‘At 3rd Belt and Road Initiative Forum: China commits to refinancing, completing Abuja-Kano, Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railways.’
Since the launch of the projects, China is yet to release funds for the two major railway projects in Nigeria largely due to cutbacks and commitments.
China had agreed to provide 85 per cent financing for the construction of the Abuja-Kano and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects, while Nigeria which had the duty of paying the balance 15 per cent paid its part of the funding from inception of the project through appropriations.
The Chinese President who received the Nigerian delegation led by Vice President Shettima at the Peoples Building in China, pledged increased investment in Nigeria’s power generation and digital economy.
He called for the protection of Chinese nationals working in Nigeria, saying he would, in turn, ensure that the Nigeria-China bilateral relation is stronger than before.
President Xi promised that China will enhance political support and build cooperation in all fields, just as he appreciated Nigeria’s support of one China Policy.
Pledging to deepen practical cooperation further, the Chinese leader pledged support for the Renewed Hope Manifesto of President Bola Tinubu and his eight-point economic agenda.
Xi affirmed that China will support Nigeria’s exports, especially as it relates to peanuts, even as the China – Africa talent initiative remains key in its cooperation with Nigeria.
In security, the Chinese President promised continued crackdown on terrorists, promising that China is committed to peace in the Sahel region, more so that its long-standing military trainings and MoUs on joint exercises remain sacrosanct.
He said, “Like President Bola Ahmed Tinubu stated recently at the last United Nations General Assembly, Africa does not need to run away. Africa holds the key to the World.
“We support Nigeria to play key roles in international relations and upholding allies’ commitments. Mr Vice President, you spoke about upscaling and further upgrading of our strategic relationship, and I totally agree with you.
“Nigeria is developing with big potential. I totally agree with you. Our foreign Ambassadors can stay and work out this upgrading”.
Speaking earlier, Vice President Shettima who delivered the well-wishes of President Tinubu described the rail projects as vital to the President and people of Nigeria.
Shettima said Tinubu remains committed to a stronger Nigeria-China tie, adding that it was laden with respect, non-political interference, and mutual international cooperation.
He said, “Our relationship commenced about 50 years ago, precisely in 1971 and it has been upgraded to a comprehensive partnership but we crave your indulgence, Your Excellency, to further upgrade this relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership because of the importance we attach to our relationship with China.
“Beyond the infrastructural support we are getting; why we love, cherish, and respect China is that you treat us with respect and dignity.
“You don’t dictate to us who our friends are. We don’t forget our friends. China stood by us through thick and thin from the post-colonial struggles for independence in Zimbabwe, Angola, and Mozambique, and the struggle for the emancipation of our people in Southern Africa; China stood shoulder to shoulder with the African continent, and we thus appreciate your friendship.”
Earlier, Vice President Kashim delivered a keynote address themed Digital Economy as a New Source Of Growth at the High-Level Forum at the ongoing 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, China.
There, he said Nigeria will leverage its relationship with China to adopt programmes that will improve the country’s digital space, among other benefits.
He also assured member countries of the Belt and Road Initiative of Nigeria’s readiness to “collaborate with the group and other emerging markets to bring about a positive shift in the growth and development of global economies.”
Highlighting Nigeria’s efforts at leveraging collaborations with partners to deploy technology in addressing some of its challenges, Shettima noted: “We are keen on using the instrumentality of the existing robust Nigeria-China bilateral relations to maximally key into projects under the platform of the Digital Silk Road for the improvement of our digital space.”
He added that Nigeria has recorded several achievements including a digitalised public service, developed banking and e-payment systems, electoral reforms through the introduction of the electronic registration of voters, and e-transmission of votes.
These, the former Banker argued, is creating ripple effects of job creation and human capacity-building opportunities for Nigeria’s teeming youth population.
The VP reasoned that the strategic blueprint of the Tinubu-led administration would accelerate the growth of Nigeria as a global technical talent hub and net exporter of talent.
“One of the goals of this talent hub is to train three million early to mid-career technical talents throughout the next four years (2022-2027),” he noted.
The blueprint will also deepen and accelerate Nigeria’s position in global research in key technology areas; and raise the complexity and dynamics of Nigeria’s economy by significantly increasing the level of digital literacy nationwide, the Nigerian leader submitted.
The Vice President was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar; Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu; Minister of Transportation, Mr Saidu Alkali and Ambassador of Nigeria to China, Baba Jiddaothers, among others.