President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed that his administration remains committed to contracts signed by his predecessor Goodluck Ebele Jonathan with Chinese firms on railway, roads and hydroelectric dam projects, adding that the country cannot afford to lose the enormous potential in China-Nigeria economic and trade cooperation.
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Speaking exclusive to Xinhua News Agency in China ahead of his 5-day state visit to the Asian country starting from Monday, the president said:
“China has the technical and financial capacity and the experience of development while retaining the goodwill to help Nigeria. So, really, this is an opportunity Nigeria cannot afford to lose,” Buhari said.
“In spite of being the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is still badly in need of these projects, which China, as the world’s second-largest economy, has the capacity to undertake.”
Buhari also stated Nigeria’s readiness to expand the development of industries, especially in manufacturing and textile industries and speed up infrastructure construction, which presents huge opportunities for both China and Nigeria.
He continued: “The opportunities that present themselves for us … are virtually limitless,” he said, adding that “the best way to tackle unemployment is to develop agriculture and the mining industry, which China has the capacity to help. Some Chinese enterprises have already been involved in the mining industry in Nigeria’s northern provinces”.
In a related development, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, divulged that the reason behind President Buhari’s trip to China was to “borrow the cheapest money possible” to finance the 2016 budget deficit.
Speaking with Financial Times and Reuters, the Minister said the country was considering selling a Chinese panda bond to help finance a budget deficit of about $11bn.