*_Says We Are Doing Very Well in Economic Partnership with China,Others._

Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives,Rt.Hon.(Dr.) Yusuf Buba Yakub,has advocated a serious shift in Nigeria ‘s foreign policy implementation towards closer ties and deeper relations with countries of Asia and other developing countries.These,he said, had at a time in their national growth and development experienced all that Nigeria is currently experiencing.

Buba,who spoke to newsmen in his National Assembly office in Abuja, Wednesday, said countries like China,India and others from the Asian bloc have made very strong impacts in the area of foreign direct investment in Nigeria.He noted that the Chinese,in particular,have demonstrated a better understanding of the peculiarities of the Nigerian nation by establishing the kind of partnerships that are aiding the development of the country and her people through tangible efforts that are bearing, equally, tangible results without putting an unnecessary burden on the citizenry.

” You can see that most of the industries that are partnering with Nigerians today across the country are from Asia, particularly,from China. These are strong partnerships between Chinese businessmen and Nigerian businessmen.For example,I have visited the Ogun- Guangdong Free Trade Zone about three times. I saw some giant industries there. These industries have come about as a result of partnerships between our business people and the Chinese. At the Free Trade Zone,we have one of the biggest ceramic companies in the world.We also have there one of the biggest glass companies in Africa.There are many others. And apart from those,if you take a look at the area of the loans that have been taken from the Chinese Government by this Administration and even the immediate past one,you will see that these are very good loans. This is because of the mode of taking those loans.

“We sit down,if it is railway that we agree upon,what is the cost of such a project? What does it take to construct a railway from point A to point B.We mostly do not take cash;the Chinese bring in their experts,we sign the necessary agreements and the construction work commences, carrying along our people and businessmen. Naturally,this mode eliminates bottlenecks, corruption and all that. We have continued to see results, as railways, airports and other infrastructure like seaports keep cropping up by the day.

“It is because of all these that we see progress.These facilities are all revenue- yielding and generating ones. They, therefore,have the capacity to repay these loans on their own. Look at the deepsea port,for instance,that has also been built through our partnership with the Chinese companies. These are all revenue- generating projects that can pay back what anyone has injected into building them. That is the beauty of our partnership with the Chinese,”the lawmaker observed.

Concluding,Rep Buba said the fears being expressed in certain quarters that some of these loans will fail and that China may seek to take over some of our critical national assets are rather unfounded and,truly, a mindset of pessimism, since the whole projects are revenue-generating. He said, with the kind of initiative members of his Committee espoused when he was Chair of the Nigeria-China Friendship Committee in the 8th Assembly ,where the idea of an annual Nigeria-China Trade Fair was born and the setting-up of Chinese companies in Nigeria to manufacture ” Made-in-Nigeria-with-China” goods,the deficit balance of trade against Nigeria would soon be a thing of the past.

In addition to the above,the lawmaker also said Nigeria and China have also continued to cooperate on the agricultural revolution of the current Administration and in the area of fighting terrorism through the use of technology born from defence-cooperation agreements. He said it was a result of diversification in the nation’s partnerships that Nigeria is making progress against insurgency and other crimes in the land with the acquisition of new technologies. While justifying the loans and and his call for pro-Asia cooperation,Rep Buba maintained that it was obvious that the partnerships with the Asian bloc were mutually benefiting and development -targetted, unlike the many past loans that came from the IMF and other Brettonwood institutions in the 1980s that ended up enslaving the nations that took them.

*Nkem Anyata-Lafia*
Special Adviser to the Lawmaker on Media and Public Affairs
*December 14,2022*