By Victoria Ojeme – Abuja
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pinjiang, has said that Chinese imports from Nigeria last year increased by more than 70%.
The Envoy made this known during events to mark the Chinese New Year also known as Spring Festival, held on Saturday in Abuja.
“China-Nigeria relations have been very productive and we face new opportunities to grow relations. There is the Forum of China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) framework.
“China and Nigeria cooperation is highly complementary and working together; we take advantage of each other’s strengths and explore cooperation potentials across board, culture, agriculture and industrialization.
“Chinese imports from Nigeria last year increased by more than 70%. We wish to buy more from Nigeria. With time the manufacturing base in Nigeria will get stronger and the trade balance between China and Nigeria will become better to address the concern of Nigerians,” he said.
Also speaking to reporters, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on China-Nigeria Relations, Buba Yusuf Yakubu said the relationship between Nigeria and China is growing stronger by the day in many sectors.
“The relationship has grown tremendously in the economic sector because in the last few years we have seen that a lot of industries are cropping up in Nigeria most of them own by the Chinese in partnership with some Nigerians,” he said.
He added that the Chinese Free trade zone in Ogun state has a floating glass industry that has the capacity to give Nigeria all the glass that it needs and also serve West Africa. He noted that the Free trade zone has about 60 industries and is employing about 10, 000 Nigerians.
“So you can see it a great achievement and most of these industries are owned by the Chinese in partnership with Nigerians. So this is bridging the trade gap because instead of importing all the goods we are now bringing in the industries into all over Nigeria.
“So our dream of becoming an industrialized nation is becoming a reality and China being the catalyst to seeing that this industrialization comes to reality,” he said.
He also lauded the massive infrastructure development in Nigeria courtesy of the relations with China.
“You can see that most of our official infrastructure is being developed by Chinese companies like the roads, the railway and our airports. The relationship is a win-win situation where both countries governments’ businessmen and other citizens are all benefiting from the relationship.
“The Chinese come in with the technology and expertise; but the natural resources and labour are supplied by Nigerians as well as the environment where they operate,” he added.
Her said that Nigeria and China have increased their relations in the area of culture and education stressing that about 7000 Nigerians are schooling in China on scholarship while thousands more are being sponsored by their parents.
The Spring Festival which witnessed massive turned in Abuja, is an occasion for family reunion and an occasion to strengthen the cultural relationship between Nigeria and China, which is being harnessed for economic development of both countries.
The 2020 event organized by the China cultural centre in collaboration with the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria was the year of rat, which was the first in the 12 year cycle of Chinese Zodiac, symbolising a new beginning.
“The Chinese new year or Lunar new year is the most celebrated traditional festival in China and Asian countries and among the Chinese communities worldwide,” the Director of the Chinese Cultural Center in Abuja, Li Xuda, said.
There were indoor and outdoor activities such as tea ceremony, craft demonstration, under tree party and different Chinese food, among others.