Efforts by the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to turn the state into a hub of industrial activities have received further assurance of the Chinese government, with the roll out of the implementation of the Chinese Government Belt & Road Initiative in Nigeria.
This hint was given by Chinese officials at the Forum on Belt & Road Initiative and Production Capacity Cooperation between China and Nigeria, held in Lagos on Sunday, to mark the Chinese New Year.
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, was a Special Guest at the Chinese Consulate in Nigeria to mark the celebration and also streamline plans in the realisation of the Asian country’s Belt and Road Initiative in Nigeria.
The event was attended by top members of the Chinese Government’s delegation to Nigeria as well as top functionaries from the Edo State Government, among others.
Governor Obaseki has had a robust partnership with the Chinese Government, which crystallised in the attraction of big-ticket projects from China to Edo State as well as the handling of these projects by reputable Chinese companies.
According to the Governor “industrialisation holds the key to Africa’s prosperity and with ongoing continent-wide conversation about Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), any part of the continent that wants to benefit from the agreement must strengthen her industrial base.”
The projects include the Benin Industrial Park and Free Trade Zone as well as the construction of the Benin River Port, which is to be handled by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC).
The 1000bpd Benin Modular Refinery is also to be built by a Chinese consortium, which includes Peiyang Chemical Company Limited (PCC), SINOPEC and others.
According to the Governor, the Edo State Government is deeply connected with the Belt and Road Initiative and is happy that the initiative will be implemented from 2019.
He said the State Government is excited about the prospects and has made initial commitment for some of the projects she is developing in partnership with Chinese partners to ensure their quick realisation.
A Consulate Official commended the Governor and the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, for gracing the event noting that the initiative is being implemented after President Muhammadu Buhari met with Chinese President, Xi Jinping in Beijing, to agree on stronger ties between both countries.
According to him, “2019 is the first year of the implementation of the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation.
The Summit, according to the official, “launches eight major initiatives including industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, healthcare, people-to-people exchange and peace and security.”