The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his government is strengthening and expanding economic relations with China to boost the inflow of investment into the state and facilitate economic growth and development.
Obaseki spoke at a dinner organised for the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jian Chun; his wife, Mrs. Liang Huili Chun and other members of his delegation, at the Government House, Benin City.
The governor said, “I thank the Ambassador for the Chinese community's contribution to Edo State, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as they helped to fight the scourge to a standstill. They have contributed to providing jobs, improving livelihood and engendering economic development in various communities they operate.
“We are proud and happy that we have them here in Edo State and look forward to expanding the economic relationship between Nigeria and China.”
Acknowledging the contributions of the several Chinese companies operating in Edo State to the economic development of the state, Obaseki stated, “Chinese companies have invested in a wide range of economic activities in Edo from steel, ceramics, tiles and doors production. Edo State has the largest steel and wood companies in Nigeria.
"Edo has so much to offer in terms of businesses because of its unique location in the country. We have rich land for agricultural production, largest onshore gas reserves as the energy required for industrialization exists in the State.”
He continued: “In the last six years, we have focused on human capital development, strengthening our educational system, training young Edo people to be employable and giving them the requisite educational foundation to make them relevant in their work places.
"We believe that we are ready and at the crossroads in our history as Nigerians. We have no choice but to go into real large-scale production and the Chinese have proven that we can rely on them in Edo as partners and hope that this visit is another indication and a step in the direction we want to go.
“We need all the trust we can get from our partners because business is all about trust. If you trust us enough, we can do business. There is so much to offer and so much required from partners like you. Hoping to see more Chinese investment in Nigeria and looking forward to having a fruitful relationship with the Chinese Government.”
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jian Chun who commended the people of Edo State for their hospitality, love and unity with the Chinese community in the state, said, “I thank the government for doing a lot for Chinese businesses in the State.
"We would love to collaborate in the area of our indigenous cultures, economy and our environment to boost economic growth in our countries. We have done a deep sea port, railways, airports, hydropower plant, electricity, ICT and more. We need more investment here in the country, not only from China but other parts of the world.
"Technology is the driving force for development and China is focusing on technology as it's the leading nation in technology and it's not selfish as it will collaborate with Nigeria on that level.”
He added, “I am happy that our companies here in Edo State are doing well. We need more investment here in the State. We are ready to collaborate in the area of politics, economy, security, international affairs coordination and infrastructure, among others.”