Examining The Politics, Economics Of Buhari’s China Trip | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Examining The Politics, Economics Of Buhari’s China Trip

Posted: Apr 20, 2016 at 3:17 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

By Ejikeme Omenazu


Since he mounted the saddle as Nigeria’s leader on May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari has undertaken several foreign trips. But, his latest visit to China has attracted a lot of comments and criticisms.
While a lot of Nigerians had been talking about his too many foreign trips as he has virtually touched almost all the continents in less than one year of his administration, the most vociferous has been Governor Ayodele Fayose, the Ekiti State governor. Fayose’s attacks on Buhari is understandable as he is of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
As soon as President Buhari touched down in China, Fayose not only spoke publicly against the visit, he castigated the Nigerian leader for going there on a loan hunt. He also dispatched a letter through the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria asking the Chinese president not to give any loan to Buhari. However, many Nigerians consider Fayose’s outburst as unpatriotic because even if Buhari was going there for a loan, it was not for his personal use, but for the national interest.
However, many people were surprised when a few days later, it became public knowledge that Fayose too was indeed heading for China, where he did not want Buhari to be. What is special about this Chinese trip, one may ask?
According to reports from the Presidency, President Buhari did not sign any loan agreement with the Chinese. But, his working visit to China reportedly yielded investments in Nigeria, which exceeded $6 billion. According to details of the trip as revealed by the Presidency, the several agreements concluded with the Chinese during the visit would have a huge and positive impact on key sectors of the Nigerian economy, including power, solid minerals, agriculture, housing and rail transportation.
In the power sector, North South Power Company Limited and Sinohydro Corporation Limited signed an agreement valued at $478,657,941.28 for the construction of 300 Mega Watts solar power in Shiroro, Niger State.
In the solid minerals sector, Granite and Marble Nigeria Limited and Shanghai Shibang signed an agreement valued at $55 million for the construction and equipping of granite mining plant in Nigeria. A total of $1 billion would be invested in the development of a greenfield expressway for Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos under an agreement reached by the Infrastructure Bank and Sinohydro Corporation Limited.
For the housing sector, both companies also sealed a $250 million deal to develop an ultra modern 27-storey high rise complex and a $2.5 billion agreement for the development of the Lagos Metro Rail Transit Red Line project.
Other agreements announced and signed during the visit include a $1 billion for the establishment of a Hi-tech industrial park in Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Igbesa, Ogun State.
Furthermore, the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone and CNG (Nigeria) Investment Limited also signed an agreement valued at $200 million for the construction of two 500MT/day float gas facilities. An agreement valued at $363 million for the establishment of a comprehensive farm and downstream industrial park in Kogi state was also announced at the Nigeria-China business forum.
Other agreements undergoing negotiations include a $500 million project for the provision of television broadcast equipment and a $25 million facility for production of pre-paid smart meters between Mojec International Limited and Microstar Company Limited.
About 100 Nigerian businesses and 300 Chinese firms participated in the Nigeria-China business forum, which took place a day after President Buhari began his visit to China.
Expectedly, different chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) hailed the success of Buhari’s trip to China. Notable was the statement of the Ekiti State chapter of the party. Fayose, Buhari’s tormentor-in-Chief, it would be understood, is the governor of Ekiti State. APC blasts Fayose for writing to the Chinese government seeking the stoppage of the $2 billion loan being sought by Buhari for the Federal Government.
Taiwo Olatunbosun, the APC Ekiti Publicity Secretary, in a statement commended President Buhari’s initiative, which he said, was in tandem with other countries of the world that engage in bilateral arrangements for development purposes.
He said that Fayose’s conduct amounted to a national sabotage and that such behaviour must not be allowed to go unchallenged, noting that while the governor was busy spending Ekiti money on frivolities, his workers’ salaries remained unpaid for four months.
“As we speak, doctors are on strike and Ekiti people are dying while the governor gets himself busy with the activities that will lead to evasion of justice in his several alleged criminal cases so that he can protect his questionable wealth across the world,” he said.
However, it would be noted that in partnering with Nigeria, China wants its own success and development. The naira-Yen swap, which is part of the agreement, it is expected would boosts investment between the two countries, as investments and other businesses between the two countries would no longer have to pass through the Dollar.
For investors, the ability to change the Naira to Yuan and verse versa would reduce cost of exchange rate by Nigerians and Chinese. The economic effect of this would trickle down to the advantage of the Nigerian consumers. It is also expected that considering the volume of business the agreement would bring to Nigeria, very soon, Chinese banks would spring up in Nigeria to the advantage of investors from both countries.
The partnership with China, it is also believed will help to improve infrastructure in Nigeria. Africa, especially Nigeria, provides China a new market for its growth. With this new understanding, China will continue to support Nigerian development as long as doing so would boost their economy, especially in areas of employment and the release of their expatriates.
Nigeria, it is expected, will adopt the Chinese technology; their goods will flood the Nigerian market the more. Thus, Nigerian work force is expected to borrow a leaf from the Chinese experts to improve their knowledge, expertise, efficiency and work ethics.
As one analyst noted: “The Chinese will bring improved work attitude and goal. Nigeria and Africa are going through a period of transformation. The coming of the Chinese will help Nigeria achieve this. The Nigerian leadership is reluctant to bring integrity to bear in every sector. This has given rise to high-level corruption. The coming of the Chinese may help to infuse integrity into the Nigerian system as the Chinese had passed through the stage Nigeria is now.
Also, observers believe that the infrastructure, the Chinese would build in Nigeria would remain and improve the quality of the existing ones, especially in areas of health, education and road development. The nation, indeed, needs infrastructure to be able to compete in the world. Nigeria for long has had a long relationship with the west. Yet things have remained bad. If a handshake with the Chinese will bring the real change Nigerians are clamouring for, there is nothing wrong to embrace it if by doing so the nation’s future would not be mortgaged to them.

Comments (1)

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