The Nigeria-China Business Council (NCBC) has disclosed that bilateral trade between the two countries has ascended to about $23.5 billion from a measly $3.4 billion in 2009.
The NCBCsaid that over these years, it has fostered bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and China to progressively spinned the tide from $2.7 billion in favour of China and $700 million for Nigeria to now $13 billion and $10.5 billion in favour of both countries correspondingly.
The Council expressed the concern of the long-standing vocal disapproval of substandard products often associated with Chinese manufacturers and imported into Nigeria, saying that it plans to reverse such development with proactive measures.
The National Coordinator of NCBC, Chief Matthew Uwaekwe stated that with such complaints and rise in trade volumes, the council, which promotes trade relations between both countries was seeking to encourage in-country manufacturing of products by Chinese investors in Nigeria.
He explained that the council had initiated a campaign to ask Nigerian investors and their Chinese counterparts to seek in-country of products they hitherto import from China instead of going off to China mass-produce such products and thereafter indulge in substandard practices.
Uwaekwe spoke shortly after the Chairman of NCBC, Chief Jacob Wood disclosed that the council would continue to work with Nigeria and the new government of President Muhammadu Buhari to help upgrade Nigeria’s infrastructure and socio-economic fortunes.
He noted that the council has also made some inroads into in-country manufacturing of electricity meters for Nigeria’s power sector, adding that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has given its assurance on protecting such effort with some protectionist regulations.
“Before we set up in 2009, trade volumes between Nigerian and China was about $2.7 billion in favour China and $700 million in favour of Nigeria but we looked at it and decided to address this imbalance in trade relations between both countries.
“Today, we are talking about trade volumes between both countries growing to $13 billion for China and $10.5 billion for Nigeria. These trades on the part of Nigeria has seen us export to China such products like cocoa and cotton wool,” Uwaekwe said.
He further stated: “You will agree with me that in terms of the level of in-country employment this has generated, we have about 6000 Nigerians working in various Chinese companies in the country.”
On checking substandard Chinese products in the country, Uwaekwe said: “We are now talking to partners to bring home their expertise and manufacture for us made-in-Nigeria products, fit for global consumption and also for our environment.”
“With such efforts, we want to see them investing to in manufacturing of goods that fit our environment, services that of global standard and not what we see today,” he added.
He also said on its discussion with NERC to encourage in-country electric meter manufacturing that: “The NERC gave us the assurance that they can only give people license to import if what they are importing cannot be found in Nigeria and that is another way of saying, we are not going to give you license to import if we have given license to people to manufacture this product in Nigeria.
If NERC will maintain this, it will encourage people to go into manufacturing of meter in-country, instead of importing just like Skyrun does at the Calabar Free Trade Zone.”