The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has unveiled its plan to invest about $1billion in Nigeria towards the construction of cement factory, the modernisation of Tin Can Port, saw mill factory, funding for the construction of investment in real estate and in manpower development.
President of CCECC, Yuan Li, disclosed this to THISDAY Tuesday in Beijing in an interview after the company hosted Nigerian delegation that accompanied President Goodluck Jonathan on a state visit to the world’s most populous country.
Li said the company, which has the highest number of on-going construction work in Nigeria, planned to move from being a mere construction company to becoming an investor and would soon start commercial production of cement for the Nigeria market.
In real estate the company said it was already developing 110 houses (villas) somewhere around the Lagos-Epe expressway near the Lekki Free Trade Zone, which would be completed by the end of this year at the cost of $10 million.
“In the past Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation was mainly in construction work and now I think we have already become one of the largest construction companies in Nigeria and we are competing with any other big construction company in the country, like Julius Berger. Since we have become one of the biggest construction companies in Nigeria, we need to find some other ways of development.
“The company said that before now it was manufacturing the cement it needed for its construction work, but it would expand the factory and begin to manufacture cement for the Nigerian market so that the pricing of the product would be competitive, adding that it would build plazas in Abuja and Lagos that would have hotels, shopping malls, offices and other businesses.
“We are looking for a land in Lagos and also in Abuja where we will build the CCECC plaza in the two cities. Each one of the lands will be about 50 square metres that will have hotels, offices. Each project will cost $100 million. We already have CCECC plaza in Beijing, in Shanghai and in Macau. We want to have several others in Africa, staring with Nigeria.”
The company also said it would offer scholarship to Nigerians to study technical courses in China, especially railway engineering in the Chinese Railway University, adding that Nigeria’s management of its railway system is weak due to dearth of technical manpower; that it would help the country by developing the needed manpower for the sector and acquiring and managing the locomotives (rail cars).
“We found that Nigerian students are not studying about railway transport in your country, even in Britain, but in China I graduated from the China Railway University. So we studied railway transport for four years in the university as major course of study. So we think that it is our duty to help you to train such engineers in China. Then they can go back to work for us or work for Nigerian Railway Corporation. That will be good. We are not doing this only for your country; we are also going to do it for Ethiopia.”
CCECC is also building four international terminals at the four major airports in Nigeria at the cost of $600 million with a loan from China Exim Bank that would be paid back with two per cent interest after seven years with 22 years moratorium.
“The four terminals will be located in the Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports and the projects would be completed in 20 months. It will also provide jobs for 6000 indigenous workers with Chinese expatriates as supervising engineers.”
While welcoming the Nigerian delegates, including ministers, directors and other top officials of some ministries, Li said that the company had employed over 20,000 local staff in all its construction and other operations in Nigeria, adding that it would embark on construction of highways, development of the Tin Can Port under Public Private Partnership (PPP) and assist Nigeria in the modernisation of its railway infrastructure.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan will Wednesday be formally welcomed to China by his host President Xi Jinping at a grand ceremony scheduled to hold at the Great Hall of the People.
Thereafter, the two leaders and their official delegation will hold bilateral talks at the end of which new agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) will be signed.
Jonathan arrived Beijing at about 17.30hours (local time) Tuesday to begin a state visit to China to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries in areas such as defence, finance, trade, agriculture and communications.
But already, Nigeria has commenced strategic moves to improve trade and investment ties with the Asian tiger and reappraise the level and quality of trade between both countries.
A high-level business and investment forum to leverage the strength of both countries for win-win trade and investment positions, will be declared open by Jonathan in Beijing as part of his state visit.
The business forum, which is expected to attract top Chinese and Nigerian companies and investors, is being organised by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.