Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, at the weekend, in Beijing, made a strong case why the Chinese government should assist Nigeria financially in funding critical major infrastructure projects in the country.
Senator Udoma who was in China for the Coordinator’s meeting on the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) also used the opportunity to discuss issues of vital economic interest with that country’s Vice Minister for Commerce, Mr. Qian Keming; and officials of China EXIM bank, where he stressed the mutually beneficial relationship the two countries will eventually enjoy if Nigeria’s economy is assisted to grow rapidly.
At the Johannesburg Summit in South Africa in December 2015, China had agreed to Assist African countries in ten strategic areas that will help their economy. It pledged $60 billion in aid, grants and concessional loans.
Nigeria is trying to get as much of the Chinese funding for projects in the form of grants, aids, investments and loans. The loan component will however be within the country’s debt sustainability limits. Projects proposed for the facility by Nigeria is in the region of about $20 billion, and the Minister said Nigeria will be in a better stead if the Chinese government will assist with a substantial part of the funds required.
During the various meetings, Senator Udoma stressed the need for special consideration for Nigeria given its strategic relationship with China, its economic potentials, and its capacity to redeem its part of the transaction obligations.
The Minister said following the meetings, both countries expressed satisfaction with the proposals and are very anxious to take proceedings to the next level.
During the Cooperation meeting attended by ministers from various countries in Africa, China’s President Xi Jinping said the meeting was an important step taken by China and Africa to implement the consensus of Chinese and Africa leaders and the outcomes of the FOCAC.
“It is a significant measure to boost China-African cooperative development. The meeting demonstrates to the world once again that no matter how the international landscape may change, the resolve of China and Africa to pursue unity and win-win cooperation will never change”, Jinping said.
The President noted that the weak performance of the world economy brings both opportunities and challenges to the economic development of China and Africa. “We must stand shoulder to shoulder and march forward hand in hand,” he admonished.
In his keynote speech, China’s State Councilor, Yang Jiech, explained that his country initiated the meeting at this time “to take stock of the delivery of summit outcomes, to align our thinking, built consensus, overcome challenges and difficulties, share experience and promote cooperation, so that we can pool the wisdom and strength of both sides and give a leg up to the implementation work”.
At the plenary session, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, was pleased that both China and the African countries have attained a high level of implementation of the outcomes of the summit, have acted promptly to take forward the five pillars and ten plans of cooperation and have made substantial progress in enhancing friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation across board.
He added that China has delivered on its commitments and made every effort to advance follow-up actions.
Media Adviser to the Hon Minister
31 July 2016