The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Cui Jianchun has said China is working assiduously to help Nigeria get “reasonable and reliable” finances from institutions to develop Nigeria’s infrastructures.
Ambassador Jianchun, who said this during an interview with some selected journalists during the commissioning of the new terminal building of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, explained: “Nigeria is currently planning a huge railway project and we are working on this huge project. If we have a railway, it would be easy for people to travel.”
“The challenge, however, is how we can get the money? How can we get reliable and reasonable terms of the finance? This is a challenge for us. But we are working hard and we are talking with the banks to do this for us. The banks are using their professional language. They are calculating the risks and how they can get the money back because we are in a difficult situation now. We are looking at how we can lift people out of poverty.”
“During my speech at the commissioning of the terminal, I told the president that whatever the project, plan, policy, partners, the most important thing is the political support. So, this is very important. The two countries from the top levels, from business levels, from people to people, from party to party, we need to work hard to build this trust. This will benefit the economy, security and international relationships.”
When asked how China’s investment in the air transport sector will spin development, Mr Jianchun said: “I have my personal understanding of Nigeria. We need a comprehensive, sustainable and systematic approach to development. Railway, highway, airport is key to migration. People cannot afford to buy tickets if there is no migration”.
“How can we be productive by ourselves? There are five goals for two countries to work together. Political consonance, economic cooperation, international correlation, security and military collaborations, and people to people communications.”
“ We are currently engaged in infrastructure development. The second is ICT. We need the digital economy, we need the 5G technology and also, we need a value-added industry. That means we can produce more commodities not only consumed by Nigerians but we can export to China.”
”We need a value-added industry to create jobs and to give people an income. We need to know how we can attract more foreign investment to Nigeria. We need to invest in agriculture, oil and gas industries amongst others. Foreign investments only rely on our domestic resources. So, we have to think of not only infrastructure but we have to think in a holistic way, which also involves the 5s.”
“These include security, structures, speed, synergy and supervision. Nigeria has huge human and natural resources which are not what every country can possess. So we need the technology to aid production.”
Jianchun also said the Embassy is working to see if we can get only one per cent of 103 million people travelling out of China to visit Nigeria.
“Every year, we have 103 million people travelling out of China. I have talked to the ministry of information and culture to see if we can get only one per cent of that number to visit Nigeria. That would mean 1.3million people from China can visit Nigeria yearly. This is possible. In the coming years, if security changes, tourism will boost in Nigeria. The Chinese love to visit Africa. We need investments to build tourism in Nigeria.”
According to Jianchun, who was responding to what informed the China drive to invest in the hospitality industry in Nigeria, “Nigeria is a beautiful country, with a nice landscape. People deserve to travel to a lot of places in Nigeria. We want to travel freely.”
On how the new terminal will impact the economy of Nigeria, the Ambassador said: “We have done some evaluations and assessments about this project. it is very important for Nigeria because Lagos is a metropolitan city. So, we have built this to international standards. With this state-of-the-art terminal, I believe we can attract more passengers to Nigeria”.
“After COVID-19, countries are opening and people would like to come to Nigeria and travel out of Nigeria and they will do that through this gateway. Through this terminal, we can access the international community and people will benefit from this. This is a flagship project for China and Nigeria.”