In furtherance of my Bi-lateral meeting with the Chinese Consulate, yesterday, I led two of my constituents and illustrious key players in the Nigerian economic sector; Chief Allen Onyema, CEO of Air Peace and Chief Akai Egwuonwu, CEO of Anambra Rice to a strategic partnership meeting with the Chinese Consul General; Mr Chao Xiaoliang in Lagos.
During the meeting, we had strategic deliberations on the possibility of Air Peace commencing direct flight operations from Nigeria to China, especially in view of the forthcoming Chinese world Canton trade-fair which will occasion the influx of over 4,000 Nigerians into China for commercial purposes. I reminded the Consul General that my constituency accounts for 70% of key investors and Nigerian businesses in China, therefore, the commencement of a direct route into China which happens to be the heart of the Asian continent will promote the commercial sector of our country, which already has an existing robust relationship with China and spur better trade and commercial relations in the future, beginning with these direct flights.
We also discussed agricultural development partnership between the Chinese Government and the Anambra/STINE Rice Mill which is presently the largest rice mill in Nigeria and is capable of producing 440 metric tons of rice daily or about 10,000 bags of 50 kg bags daily.
Undoubtedly, China possesses insightful experience and expertise in agriculture which Nigeria can tap to enhance its quest for improved rice production, mechanization and agricultural development. I noted with concern that Infrastructure and technology remain key challenges in the rice production in Nigeria and continues to hinder progress in realizing the full potential that rice production and agriculture in general could contribute to diversifying the country’s economy.
Our discussion established ideas and linkages which will provide sustainable partnerships for the advancement of rice production in Nigeria and link farmers to solid agricultural financing, technological and marketing mechanisms.
I also advocated for the establishment of a Chinese consulate in Anambra which would lessen the stress and cost of obtaining Chinese visa by traders in the state and, by extension, the South East. Having reminded the Consul General that South Africa has 3 Chinese consulates which are situated in Pretoria, Sandton and Cape Town respectively. I stressed on the preponderant need to establish a consular office in the South East which plays host to 80% of Nigerian Business owners in China.
Conclusively, the Chinese Consul General thanked us for the very timely visit. He noted that China-Nigeria relations are facing a new historical opportunity and promised to do his best to help sustain, build and promote a better bilateral relationship between China and Nigeria. I also used the medium to invite the Consular General to pay to a visit to Anambra South and Anambra in General to have an “on the spot” view and assessment of the commercial potentials of my state. The visit, I believe, will provide detailed insights and broaden his knowledge of Anambra South as one of the most industrially and commercially viable districts in Nigeria.
Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Ubah;
Anambra South Senatorial District.