PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has thanked China for its continued investment in the Nigerian economy saying the Chinese have exhibited genuine efforts to improve Nigeria’s infrastructural development.
Speaking yesterday during an audience with the chairman of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), Fenjian Chen, President Buhari said Nigeria’s infrastructure had depreciated and deteriorated over the years, affecting standard of living and led to the loss of lives through avoidable accidents. Of late, however, China has been a major investor in Nigeria’s infrastructure, particularly in rail, where the CRCC is constructing a standard gauge railway network.
Since assuming office in 2015, the current government of President Buhari has stepped up the completion of railway projects and already, the Abuja to Kaduna section of the railway network is functional. CRCC is a major in the sector as it is already working on a Lagos light railway network as well as constructing a Lagos to Ibadan railway link.
President Buhari said: “We are very grateful to China for the effort to rebuild our infrastructure and for bringing technical expertise to the country. We will give the required support and cooperation, so that our old, out of date, and collapsed infrastructure might be turned around.”
Mr Chen, who led a high-powered Chinese team to meet with the President, said CRCC is an international company, currently operating in 124 countries around the world. He added that it has 18,000 local employees in Nigeria alone.
Other projects CRCC is undertaking in Nigeria include the construction of a dry port, the building of a free trade zone and highway construction. About 40,000 more jobs are expected to be created from these projects.
Mr Chen added: “The sum of $250m will be invested on a dry port in Ibadan, Oyo State. It will decongest the ports in Lagos and speed up the clearance of goods by the Nigerian Customs Service.”
He commended President Buhari for the war against corruption and insecurity, expressing confidence that Nigeria will soon become a much better country. Last year, Chinese premier Xi Jinping pledged to consider building a 3,050MW hydroelectric power plant on the Mambilla Plateau in Adamawa State in a bid to solve Nigeria’s chronic electricity supply problem.