Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China on Monday signed a bilateral agreement of over eight million China’s Yuan (about 400 million naira) for various projects in the FCT.
The projects were feasibility studies of the second phase of the Abuja Solar Powered Traffic Control Signal, Agricultural Demonstration Centre and the 2016 Bilateral Training Programmes.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr James Akpandem, Media Adviser to Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning in Abuja.
“The agreement was signed at the sixth session of the Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation Joint Commission meeting in Abuja.
“The agreement is a prelude to Chinese government’s full involvement in the projects once they are certified feasible.
“The project will be funded through gratis assistance as part of the 2012 Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement between the two governments,” the statement said.
It said Udoma signed on behalf of the Federal Government while China’s Vice Minister of Commerce, Mr Qian Keming, signed on behalf of the People’s Republic ofProjects
“RMB Yuan 6,000,000.00 is allocated for training programmes; the Agricultural Centre is allocated RMB Yuan 1,000,000.00, while the solar project study has RMB Yuan 1,200,000.00.
“Since the last Joint Commission Session held in Beijing, China, in 2009, the relationship between the two countries has further deepened with increased trade, investments and technical activities.
“This raised the volume of trade from U.S.$6.37 billion in 2009 to U.S.$14.94 billion in 2015.”
It said that the sixth Ministerial Conference of the Forum of China-African Cooperation, South Africa in 2015, identified 10 critical areas of cooperation.
“The visit to China by President Muhammadu Buhari early this year further bolstered Nigeria’s participation in the 10 focal areas.
“These areas involve Industrialisation, Agricultural Modernisation, Infrastructure Development, Financial Cooperation, Green Development, Trade and Investment Facilitation, Poverty Reduction, Public Health, Cultural and People-to-People Exchange and Peace and Security.”
It quoted Udoma as soliciting China’s assistance for the completion of the Abuja Light Rail project and the Greater Abuja Water Works project, which had been presented for funding through concessionary loan.
The minster drew attention to the imbalance in trade relations between the two countries and emphasised the need to bridge the gap for the sustainability of the cooperation framework.
Udoma also called on the Chinese Government to reduce the high tariff on agricultural exports from Nigeria which currently stood at five per cent.
According to it, a reduced tariff is capable of narrowing the trade imbalance between the two countries, which averaged at U.S.5.9 billion dollars in the last five years.
The statement quoted Qian as promising that the Chinese government would do everything possible to enhance the relationship between both countries to ensure timely completion of all the projects. (NAN)