President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country in the early hours of Saturday, after a six- day official visit to the People’s Republic of China.
This is one of the several trips the President has made in his short span as the president of the country.
According to presidential team, this visit was meant to strengthen bilateral and economic relations between Nigeria and China. The visit was said to be at the instance of Invitation of President XI Jinping.
However, the question that has trailed this visit as others, is the economic significance of these visits abroad, especially at a time Nigerians are groaning under hard times, occasioned by fuel scarcity, power outrage and lack of circulation of money in the system.
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, main protagonist of these visits, had to write Chinese President Jinping not to grant Nigeria any loan.
Fayose hinged his reasons on what he will be an overburden to Me gerians if the $2bn was loaned to Nigeria.
Fayose advised the government of China to be mindful of the fact that Nigerians are opposed to increment of the country’s debt burden, which is already being serviced with 25 per cent of the Federal Government annual budget.
Waving Fayose’s ranting aside, the Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said Buhari’s visit made huge economic sense, considering that it has attracted about $6bn worth of Infrastructural development to the country.
Shehu said despite the criticisms for the President’s frequent overseas trip, President Buhari one week trip to China had yielded over $6bn additional investments to Nigeria.
Shehu said the several agreements concluded with the Chinese during the visit will have a “huge and positive impact on key sectors of the Nigerian economy including power, solid minerals, agriculture, housing and rail transportation”.
He added that “about 100 Nigerian businesses and 300 Chinese firms participated in the
Nigeria-China business forum” which took place as part activities marking the President’s trip.
Also, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina described the visit as successful and highly beneficial to Nigeria.
He said the several agreements entered into between Nigeria and China as result of President Buhari’s bilateral engagements with the Chinese Authorities will have a huge and positive impact on the critical sectors of the the nation’s economy.
Among the agreements reached included that in the power sector, North South Power Company Limited and Sinohydro Corporation Limited, valued at $478,657,941.28 for the construction of 300 Mega Watts solar power in Shiriro, 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 USD is to 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.”
Shehu listed other agreements undergoing negotiations to 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.
Until these agreements start to bear fruit especially in the area of mass transportation, constant electricity supply and food on the table for the hungry masses, Buhari’s frequent trips will be meaningless and at the end of the day, worth nothing.