…lauds Obaseki’s industrialisation drive, awards scholarship to 47 Edo indigenes
The Chinese government has pledged to deepen its growing relationship with the Edo State government through direct investment and other initiatives to leverage on the business friendly environment that has been created by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration in the state.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, made the pledge during a visit to the Edo State governor, at Government House, Benin City, the state capital.
Ambassador Pingjian expressed his delight at the Edo State government’s steady progress in diversifying her economy through industrialisation and commended the Obaseki administration for opening its doors to Chinese investors.
He disclosed that he had been looking forward to visiting Edo State following the positive feedbacks from Chinese investors that have been operating in the state.
Earlier this month, the Edo State government disclosed a $500 million auto assembly plant deal with Chinese investors. The auto assembly plant deal followed similar investments in the Benin Industrial Park, the Benin River Port project in Gelegele by Chinese companies, which will add to the existing ceramic and steel companies owned by Chinese investors.
“My impression of the state is that this is one state that welcomes investors. The Edo State government under Governor Godwin Obaseki has shown that Chinese companies have a place here,” he said.
The ambassador announced the award of scholarship to 47 brilliant students of Edo origin, to mark the 47 years of diplomatic relations with Nigeria.
The scholarship, which he christened October 1st scholarship, derived its name from the day both Nigeria and China got their independence.
“We want to remind our students that China and Nigeria share so many things in common, that are responsible for the strong bond between us,” he said.
According to the Chinese Ambassador, the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to China in April 2016, expanded the scope of the relationship between Nigeria and China that paved the way for a more robust relationship between both countries, adding that his country is interested in promoting the cooperation programme between both countries.
“By September a Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCA) will be held in Beijing, China, and it will be a major opportunity to boost our cooperation at all levels while in November, China is going to hold the first ever China international import export exposition in Shanghai,” the ambassador said.
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, assured his guests that his administration will continue to leverage on its existing relationship with China which has given birth to several deals and commitments to invest in developmental projects in the state.
“We have good relationship with our Chinese brothers in Edo State particularly the private Chinese investors. There are over five Chinese companies in the state that have invested over 100 million dollars in various sectors.”
Obaseki said he was optimistic about the realisation of the Benin River Port after sealing a deal with Chinese Harbour Engineering Company to develop the port.
“We are working hard on the Benin River Port project which will be one of the projects that the President will highlight during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCA) conference in Beijing, China.”
He expressed his appreciation to the Chinese Ambassador for awarding scholarship to 47 Edo State students and for pledging to sustain the scholarship programme.
The governor advised the Ambassador on the need for a Chinese school in the state where people will be able to study Chinese language, her arts and culture.