The president of the China Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria, Mr. Ye Shuijin, recently disclosed that the total investments of Chinese companies in the country have reached $20bn.
According to Shuijin, 160 Chinese companies domiciled in the country have employed over 200,000 Nigerians. He further disclosed that the companies are promoting what he called the ‘people to people’ cultural diplomacy of the Belt and Road Initiative of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria.
Shuijin, who is also the Managing Director of China Geo-engineering Company, further disclosed that his company, which was established in Nigeria in 1983, has offices in 30 states.
Note that it is unclear where Mr Shuijin got his figures from.
“I believe the Chinese investment in Nigeria now is about $20b and we have employed over 200,000 Nigerians. Our workforce is 95 per cent Nigerians.
“We also worked with the Industrial Training Fund to train over 1,000 Nigerians last year and we have similarly trained 350 Nigerians in agriculture export. We have sponsored 30 students to China on scholarship as part of our advanced capacity building for Nigerians.”
What is attracting the Chinese? According to Shuijin said that CGC, improved infrastructural development in Nigeria is one of the factors encouraging many more Chinese businessmen and firms to invest in the Nigerian economy. He, however, talked about the need for further improvement, noting that companies operating in the country continue to experience some challenges.
Speaking further, Mr Shuijin noted that some Chinese firms are being owed by the Federal Government.
“The government still owe us for the Murtala Muhammed expressway project in Abuja which was completed in 2010. In 2015, we faced payment issues because of the recession, but what we did was to ensure the payment of our members of staff, not only CGC but all our chamber’s members.
“Many Chinese companies had to bring in money from China to pay their workers. The recession almost wiped off Chinese companies in Nigeria. At the end of 2016, the government commenced payment, but we still have many challenges.”
Reacting to recent accusations that the Chinese are bringing ex-convicts to work for them as expatriates, Shuijin said such claims are false. According to him, it is an impossible thing to do because the Chinese Embassy monitors all the companies’ activities.