The Federal Government on Friday emphasised the need to partner with Chinese investors to bridge Nigeria’s huge financing gap in the areas of consumer industries, agriculture, infrastructure and telecoms.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment,Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, made this known in Abuja at the Nigerian Investment and Financing Summit.
The summit was organised by the Government of Jiangxi Province, China; Export-Import Bank of China, Jiangxi Branch, in collaboration with the Nigeria-China Business Council.
Abubakar, represented by Mr Rufai Tokunbo, Deputy Director Investment Promotion Department in the ministry, stated that China had a lot to offer Nigeria in terms of trade, investment and financing of energy projects.
She said there were many states and industries that were moribund and which were looking for funds to tackle the challenges of growth and development.
She said that the government had developed policy on the longstanding power shortage in Nigeria and would, henceforth, provide the necessary support for businesses willing to invest in the country.
“The policy now makes it easy for investment to flow into different sectors of the economy.
“Nigeria has a competitive edge in the international capital market and the country’s economic growth is robust with the inflation rate projected to remain in singles digits throughout 2016.
“Trade and investment policies, laws and incentives are been renewed to bring them in line with global practices.
“We will leverage the technology to improve the speed and efficiency procedures and to ensure transparency,’’ Abubakar said.
She said over the past two decades, China had become an important partner in Nigeria’s growth and development.
“ We believe this will continue and the established relationship will help Nigeria to lift the people out of poverty and realise the opportunities for improving transformation.
“We ask the investors from Jiang Xi Province in China to set up production facilities in the country.
“This would ensure value addition, creation of jobs and will enhance development in the country.
“We equally see you as one of the people that can assist us to bridge an international gap especially in economy and infrastructure.
“We must not see Nigeria as a consumer market alone, but as an investment destination where goods can be manufactured and consumed locally,’’ the minister said.
She also said that the demand of the middle class and the initiative of the Nigerian government had helped investments and opportunities in industry that extended beyond the jurisdictional destination of oil and gas.
She said government had developed stronger public private partnership for roads, Agriculture and power.
The minister added that the government had also entered into a number of bilateral investments promotion and protection agreements to further encourage investment in the country.
“We are keen to remove the inhibitions and obstacles to investment in Nigeria. Trade and investment policies, law and incentives are being reviewed to bring them in line with global best practices.
“We will be leveraging technology to improve the speed and efficiency of business procedures and to ensure transparency.
“We will work assiduously to improve the operating environment for small, medium and large corporate businesses to thrive,’’ she said.
Also speaking, Ms Lee Yin, Vice President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said the group was committed to promoting and deepening relationship between Nigeria and China.
Yin said that the group and the Chinese government were concerned about ensuring development across the local governments in Nigeria, especially as they were closer to the people and capable of making meaningful impact on the lives of the people.
“Actually, we are exploring other ways to promote the trade and economic relationship at the local government level. It is just a starting point.
“It is the first kind of dialogue hosted by our association and the Nigeria-China Association and the Nigerian Governors Forum. It is just the starting point,’’ she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Deputy Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu, representatives of Abia and Delta States also attended the summit in order to woo investors to invest in their respective states.(NAN)