Lawyers Chide Fayose Over Letter To Chinese Government

More reactions have trailed Ekiti Governor, Ayodele Fayose’s letter to the Chinese Government, asking it to refuse President Muhammadu Buhari’s request of $2 billion loan.

Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos State and other lawyers on Sunday condemned Fayose’s action, describing it as mere irritation and inconsequential.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Buhari had last week paid a state visit to the People’s Republic of China with some state governors, the Central Bank governor and some ministers.

The president had concluded negotiations for the loan and a currency swap deal with the Chinese authorities as part of efforts to revive the Nigerian economy in the face of dwindling oil revenues.

On April 12, Fayose had reportedly jetted out to China while Buhari was there, urging the Chinese authorities to refuse the facility being requested by the Nigerian Government.

He said “all Nigerians”, irrespective of their political and religious affiliations were against any applications for new foreign loans.”

This, he said, was on the grounds that servicing current debt burden already gulps over 25 per cent of the country’s annual budget.

Reacting to Fayose’s letter, a former Chairman of Ikeja Branch of NBA, Mr Onyekachi Ubani, described the letter as of no consequence, since negotiations had already been concluded.

“The letter by Fayose is similar to a situation of bringing a motion for a court injunction for a completed act.

“This letter is a mere irritation especially coming from a sitting governor; I will urge Nigerians and especially journalists to regard his letter as nothing, but a mere irritation.

“Negotiations are already concluded and the Chinese government are willing to release funds to Nigeria.

“Although, it is very disheartening that such a letter is coming from one of our governors, but I think it serves no purpose,” he told NAN.

Ubani, therefore, urged Nigerians to resist any act capable of disrupting the smooth running of government.

In the same vein, the Ikeja Branch Chairman of NBA, Mr Yinka Farobi, described the letter as “over stepping of one’s boundaries”.

“Fayose was elected as a state governor and not as the president of Nigeria.

“His letter is clearly out of the purview of his powers and I seriously condemn it,” he said.

Farobi also urged Nigerians to be supportive of moves aimed at transforming the Nigerian nation for growth.

Again, the Ikorodu NBA Branch Chairman, Mr Dotun Adetunji, described the letter as a show of rascality.

He noted that although “there is a provision for immunity for a sitting governor, there must also be a limit on the activities of a leader.”

In his words: “There are 36 states in the federation and out of these states, only one governor has courage to write to a foreign authority, urging it to refuse funds to its federal government.

“To my mind, such action is really reprehensible and should be discouraged.

“There is no problem with being an opposition, but If you want to be an opposition, you conduct such opposition in a reasonable manner,” he also told NAN.

Adetunji urged Nigerians to show support for the incumbent government in a bid to promote development.

“We must be careful as Nigerians for whatever we do today will be recorded as our history tomorrow.”

Mr Spurgeon Ataene, a lawyer, said:“If the loan being sought by the Federal Government is for the purpose of revamping the battered economy, then we should not have a problem with that.

“The only thing we should demand from the government is that the loan should be used for the purpose for which it is obtained in the first place.

“To that extent, all Nigerians must be watchdogs and at all times demand that the benefit of the 2 billion dollar loan must trickle down to the masses.

Another lawyer, Mr Ola Ogunbiyi, said Fayose’s action fell short of the status of his exalted office.

“Fayose is a `security risk’ working against national interest, I think he has too much freedom and should be cautioned all because we are in a democratic rule.

“What he said was wrong, we all know the loan is for our economic growth, for him to have written a letter to another country is wrong.

“The picture he tried to paint is that there is no unity, we have no united front by going to counter the action of the president.

“We all know the President is trying to pave way for the citizenry to have a good business relationship with other countries, but we can see Fayose blackmailing not only the government but the nation as a whole.” (NAN)

Buhari Pledges To Build Resilient Nigerian Cities

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Shanghai, China, said his administration would give priority to the building and development of resilient and viable cities comparable with other developed cities across the globe.

A statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, said

Buhari spoke at separate meetings with the Mayor of the Chinese city of Shanghai, Mr Yang Xiong and the Director of Shanghai Free Trade Zone, Liu Fangzhou.

Buhari said the Federal Government would give full support to Free Trade and Export Processing Zones in the country to spur rapid economic development.

The President, who visited the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, said Nigeria was prepared to learn “how to make our cities more viable from those that have achieved development.

“We have already identified the development of infrastructure which will bring industries that create jobs and help us to diversify the economy.

“We are going to work hard to achieve these within the period we have in office. Nigerians will see progress and feel the impact,’’ he said.

He commended the hard work and incredible success story of the city of Shanghai, Buhari said the virtues of hard work were central to every human achievement and development.

The Shanghai Mayor expressed the willingness of Chinese businesses to key into the vision of the Chinese President Xi Jinping for Africa by investing in Nigeria.

The statement also quoted the Director of the Free Trade Zone Liu Fangzhou, as commending the effort of the Nigerian government towards the diversification of the economy.

Buhari Assures China Of Commitment To Previous Agreements

President Muhammadu Buhari pledged Wednesday in Beijing that his administration will honour all agreements concluded between Nigeria and China under previous administrations to ensure the speedy completion of outstanding joint projects, including the 4,000 megawatts Mambilla Hydro-Electric Power Project.

Speaking at a meeting with Mr Li Keqiang, the Premier of the State Council of the Peoples Republic of China, President Buhari regretted the failure of past governments to meet Nigeria’s obligations in joint projects with China.

The President told the Chinese Premier that his administration was committed to the completion, in the shortest possible time, of all joint power, rail, road and aviation projects that will directly and quickly improve the lives of Nigerians.

President Buhari said that he was particularly keen on actualizing the Mambilla Power Project because of its huge potential to boost employment and national economic growth.

The Chinese Premier commended ongoing efforts by the Buhari Administration to improve Nigeria’s infrastructure.

He assured the President that China was ready to work with his administration to complete all joint projects, including the Mambilla Power Project.

Buhari Creates Technical Committees On New Joint Nigeria/China Projects

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that technical committees be immediately established to finalize discussions on new joint Nigeria/China rail, power, manufacturing, agricultural and solid mineral projects.

The president gave the directive Tuesday in Beijing after talks between his delegation and high-ranking Chinese government officials led by President Xi Jinping, his spokesman, Garba Shehu said in a statement.

The technical committees are to conclude their assignments before the end of May.

President Buhari had at the talks welcomed China’s readiness to assist Nigeria in her bid to rapidly industrialize and join the world’s major economies.

President Jinping agreed that Nigeria’s chosen path of development through economic diversification was the best way to go.

To help Nigeria to achieve this, China promised to fully support the country through infrastructural development and capacity building.

China also expressed an interest in setting up major projects in Nigeria such as refineries, power plants, mining companies, textile manufacturing and food processing industries as soon as the enabling environment is provided by the Federal Government.

In response to President Muuhammadu Buhari’s desire to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production, President Jinping offered 15 million U.S. dollars agricultural assistance to Nigeria for the establishment of 50 Agricultural Demonstration Farms across the country.

China and Nigeria also agreed to strengthen military and civil service exchanges as part of a larger capacity-building engagement.

In line with this, China offered to raise its scholarship awards to Nigerian students from about 100 to 700 annually. In addition, 1,000 other Nigerians are to be given vocational and technical training by China annually.

President Jinping applauded the war against corruption being waged by President Buhari.

The Chinese leader assured President Buhari that Nigeria will always have a special place in the affairs of the Peoples Republic of China.

After the talks, President Buhari and President Jinping witnessed the signing of several agreements and memorandums of understanding by Nigeria and China.

The agreements include a “Framework Agreement Between the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Development and Reform Commission of the Peoples Republic of China.”

Others were a “Memorandum of Understanding on Aviation Cooperation between the Ministry of Transportation (Aviation) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Ministry of Commerce of the Peoples Republic of China” and a “Memorandum of Understanding Between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Government of the Peoples Republic of China on Scientific and Technological Cooperation”.

A “Mandate Letter Between the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Central Bank of Nigeria on Renminbi (RMB) Transactions was also signed.

Large Trade Imbalance Between Nigeria And China Must Be Reduced

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Beijing called on the Nigerian and Chinese business communities to work harder to reduce the trade imbalance between both countries which is currently in China’s favour.

In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President(Media & Publicity), Femi Adesina, the President was speaking at the opening of a Nigeria-China Business/Investment Forum, where he said that trade and economic relations between both countries must be mutually-beneficial and conducted with reciprocated respect and trust.

“Although the Nigerian and Chinese business communities have recorded tremendous successes in bilateral trade, there is a large trade imbalance in favour of China as Chinese exports represent some 80 per cent of the total bilateral trade volumes. This gap needs to be reduced.
“Therefore, I would like to challenge the business communities in both countries to work together to reduce the trade imbalance.
“You must also imbibe the spirit of having a mutually beneficial relationship in your business transactions. You must not see Nigeria as a consumer market alone, but as an investment destination where goods can be manufactured and consumed locally,” President Buhari told the gathering.

The President said that his administration was committed to supporting investors that were ready to establish manufacturing and processing facilities in Nigeria.
“Last year during our meeting in New York, President Xi Jinping and I agreed to explore ways of practical cooperation in trade, investment, finance, human resources, agriculture and fishing.
“We also agreed to strengthen industrial capacity cooperation in the manufacture of cars, household appliances, construction materials, textiles, food processing, and others.
“This is in line with our government’s focus on import substitution through the creation of a diversified and inclusive economy that will meet most of our consumption needs.
“Already, our Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is working on projects and programmes that will correct the wrongs of the past and enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

“The ministry’s efforts will be complemented by investment tax incentive programmes, public sector reform initiatives as well as our zero tolerance stance on corruption.
“We also have an aggressive but realistic infrastructure development programme that forms the backbone of our economic diversification policy. We are embarking on major power, road, rail, seaport and airport development programmes that will enhance the competitiveness of manufacturing businesses in Nigeria.

“The future is bright and I am very confident that our policies will make Nigeria the investment destination of your choice,” President Buhari told the Chinese investors.
The President also assured them that his administration was doing everything possible to address concerns about security in Nigeria.
President Buhari said that to consolidate on recent successes against Boko Haram, close to 20 per cent of the 2016-budgetted expenditure has been allocated to the Ministries of Defence and Interior and as well as other security agencies.
“We are committed to protecting all lives and property within our borders. You can therefore be rest assured that your investments in Nigeria will be safe and secure,” he said.

Business and trade relations between Nigeria and China have grown astronomically in the last decade with bilateral trade volumes rising from USD2.8 billion in 2005 to USD14.9 billion in 2015.

Nigeria accounted for 8.3 per cent of the total trade volume between China and Africa and 42 per cent of the total trade volume between China and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries in 2015.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 12, 2016

China/Nigeria Business Forum Meeting Kicks Off

President Muhammadu Buhari, who arrived in China yesterday on a week-long visit, today began his programme with the opening ceremony of the Business Forum of the China/Nigeria Production Capacity Cooperation.

The delegation will then leave for a visit to forbidden City, according to presidential Spokesman Femi Adesina.

On arrival yesterday, President Buhari was received by Mr Cheng, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs along with other Senior Chinese Government Officials at the Beijing Capital International Airport.

Others who received him were Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi , Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Geidam; Minister of Trade and Investment Okechukwu Enelamah; Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu and Minister of Defence Dan Monsur Ali.

Buhari Off To China To Make Case For Infrastructure Development

President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Abuja today to China on a working visit aimed at securing greater support from Beijing for the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure, especially in the power, roads, railways, aviation, water supply and housing sectors.

President Buhari’s talks with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples’ Congress, Zhang Dejiang will also focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in line with the Federal Government’s agenda for the rapid diversification of the Nigerian economy, with emphasis on agriculture and solid minerals development.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said that several new agreements and memorandums of understanding to boost trade and economic relations between Nigeria and China will also be concluded and signed during the visit.

The agreements include a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the National Development and Reform Commission of the Peoples’ Republic of China to Boost Industrial Activities and Infrastructural Development in Nigeria.

Others are a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Communications and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, and a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and China on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

In line with his administration’s prioritization of economic diversification and industrialization to boost employment, President Buhari and his delegation will tour the Shanghai Free Trade Zone and the Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone to gain more useful insights and understanding of the policies that underpinned China’s astronomical economic growth in recent years.

The President, whose entourage will include some state governors as well as the Ministers of Agriculture, Water Resources, Transport, Defence, Power, Works & Housing, Industry, Trade & Investment, Federal Capital Territory, Science & Technology and Foreign Affairs, will also open a China-Nigeria Business/Investment Forum in Beijing and meet with members of the Nigerian Community in China before returning to Abuja at the weekend.

Buhari Off To China Next Week

President Muhammadu Buhari will start a state visit to China from April 11 till 15.

A major highlight of the visit will likely be signing a $2billion loan deal with China that will finance Nigeria’s badly-needed infrastructure projects.

“I can’t tell you how much until the day the loan will be signed,” his spokesman, Femi Adesina said in an interview with Reuters.

“Both countries will also be signing some bilateral agreements to strengthen their relationship, that is all I can say now”, he added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang had earlier said in Beijing that Buhari would visit China to sign “cooperation agreements” and attend a business forum. He gave no details.

China Seeks More Oil From Nigeria

Zao LingXiang, economic and commercial counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, on Sunday said his country seeks more crude oil exports from Nigeria in spite of the recent changes in oil prices.

LingXiang said this in an interview with NAN in Abuja on Sunday.

The total amount of export to China was only about one million barrels in 2015, estimated at about 1.3 per cent of Nigerian annual oil export.

“In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter whether Iran comes back or not; Chinese companies want to import more crude oil from Nigeria,” he said.

He said current trade volume between both countries stood at $14.94 billion in 2014, making Nigeria third largest trade partner of China in Africa.

The economic counsellor added that Nigeria’s trade figure was 8.3 per cent of China’s total trade volume with Africa and 42 per cent of the total trade volume between China and Africa.

He said China also sought to explore other areas of cooperation with Nigeria which he noted would be of benefit to both parties.

“China is the largest developing country in the world and Nigeria is the largest developing country in Africa and both countries have complementary advantages in natural and human resources, funds and markets,” he said.

“Right now, the Nigerian government is trying to diversify its economy which is fully in line with the 10 China-Africa cooperation plans announced at the summit on China-Africa trade in Johannesburg in 2015.

“There are great potential for cooperation between China and Nigeria in the fields of industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure construction, financial services, trade and investment facilitation, among others.”

He added that both countries had made “remarkable achievements” in the areas of infrastructure cooperation.

He said the coming visit of President Muhammad Buhari to China in April would facilitate the implementation of agreements reached at the 2015 China-African summit in Johannesburg.

LingXiang added that the president’s visit would also deepen cooperation between both countries.

He explained that the total investment volume between China and Africa exceeded $100 billion in 2015 in spite of the decline in imports from Africa, saying Africa remained China’s largest trade partner despite recent changes in the country’s economy.

“The amount in import from Africa to China declined but did not decline remarkably,” he said.

“Moreover, the economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa is not only about trade but technical cooperation as well.

“China’s total investment volume in Africa last year increased by 100 times more in a short span of 10 years, which shows that cooperation between both parties is moving to a new level.”

Are China And Brazil Transforming African Agriculture?

China and Brazil are set to increase their influence in Africa, with the recently launched New Development Bank opening offices in Johannesburg this month and preparing to issue its first loans in April. New research on China and Brazil in African Agriculture published in acclaimed journal, World Development, reveals that the picture on the ground is far more complex and more contested than generic policy statements about South-South cooperation or win-win partnerships would have us believe.

Agriculture, which employs 65 percent of Africa’s labour force and accounts for 32 percent of gross domestic product, presents a major area of engagement for both China and Brazil with the continent.  Additionally, both countries may claim to be particularly well positioned to help African countries develop their agriculture sector.

China offers win-win partnerships with unparalleled pragmatism that is much welcomed as an alternative to the increasingly obsolete aid industry. Brazil offers tropical technology that is claimed to be well suited to Africa’s similar soil-climate characteristics and an approach to the cooperation exchange that is arguably more horizontal.

But despite being often clustered together as leaders of the South-South paradigm, China and Brazil are quite different, both in rhetoric and in practice.

World Development Special Issue on China and Brazil in African Agriculture digs behind South-South Cooperation rhetoric

Edited by Ian Scoones, Kojo Amanor, Arilson Favareto and Qi Gubo, this special open access collection digs behind the rhetoric of South-South cooperation and win-win relations to reveal the reality of South-South encounters.

At its launch, co-editor Professor Scoones noted that policy ideas and technology travel from China and Brazil to Africa in the context of South-South relations. They do not end up the way they were first designed though but get transformed and reconstituted through negotiation and mutual learning.

The eight articles in this open access collection looked at cases of Chinese and Brazilian engagements in four African countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe – as well as the origins of Chinese and Brazilian agricultural policies, technology and capital by looking at the two countries’ domestic contexts.

They reveal a rich mix of engagements, including:

  • agricultural investments by private and state owned enterprises
  • tri-lateral development cooperation efforts
  • technological adaptation initiatives
  • training programmes
  • ‘under-the-radar’ involvement in agriculture by Chinese migrants.

These diverse experiences challenge simplistic narratives of either “South–South” collaboration or “neo-imperial” expansion of “rising powers”.

Research reveals no singlular Brazilian or Chinese model

There is therefore no singular Brazilian or Chinese model but engagements in Africa reflect struggles back home in Brazil and in China that meet other struggles when they land in diverse African countries.

These are struggles for power and resources as well as battles between competing visions on agriculture and development. They are local struggles but they are also global struggles that need to be situated against the geopolitics of aid and international development and the changing global configurations of capital.

Three papers from the collection were briefly discussed at the recent Contested Agronomies conference, hosted at IDS. One looked at the case of China’s Agricultural Technological Demonstration Centres and two focused on Brazilian cooperation programmes symbolising the agribusiness-versus-family farming dualism in Brazilian agriculture.

A closer look at China’s Agricultural Technological Demonstration Centres

The Chinese demonstration centres were presented by Xiuli Xu, professor at theChina Agricultural University, as an example of a top-down policy being implemented at the grassroots.

The 23 centres found in Africa were established by Chinese companies from different provinces in China, with support from their government. The Chinese government emphasises state-business relations and the need to ensure long-term financial “sustainability” of these centres for technical cooperation. The companies in turn hope to develop a potential market for their seeds, machinery and other technology in Africa. In the meantime, they operate as ‘aid workers’ interacting with local communities and learning about the trade of cooperation.

Brazil’s cooperation programmes reflect agribusiness-versus-family farming dualism in its own agriculture

The Brazil story revealed contestations beyond the agrarian dualism formulation.

Family farming is disputed in Brazil and this is reflected in the practice of More Food International, one of Brazil’s flagship cooperation programmes in Africa analysed by one of the papers.

Lídia Cabral, one of the authors, noted that the programme has so far been mainly about selling Brazilian farming machinery and tractors in particular and that the policy advocacy thrust of the programme – of reproducing a family farming-based development trajectory – got lost in translation. African governments are attracted by a modernisation ideal where family farming is at best a transitional mode into mechanised commercial farming.

The other Brazilian case-study presented, focused on ProSAVANA in Mozambique, discussed the role played by imagined landscapes of the Brazilian Cerrado and the Mozambican Savannah both in the promotion and contestation of the programme.

Alex Shankland, co-author of the paper, highlighted that the contestation of ProSAVANA has been at the centre of the making of Brazilian cooperation. It has produced spill over effects to other Brazilian programmes and raised questions about Brazil’s South-South narrative and its solidarity and horizontality claims.

Useful lessons from Braziliand and Chinese enagements in African agriculture

There are many useful lessons to be learnt from the Brazilian and Chinese engagements in African agriculture for other countries. For example, a key feature is the role of state-business relations in driving and shaping engagements that provides valuable insight for agencies such as DFID (the UK’s Department for International Development) which has an interest in the role of the private sector, and in public-private partnerships.

But as suggested by this research, these relations have to be understood as part of competing interests, power dynamics and conflicting ideas about development, locally and globally, and should not be treated as anodyne win-win solutions.


Obafemi Martins To Double His Pay In China

Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins, popularly called Obagoal, will enjoy one of his biggest pay days when he joins Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua as he will pocket twice what he was earning at MLS side Seattle Sounders.

The 31-year-old striker was on $3 million at Seattle Sounders, making him the second highest earner at the MLS club behind US international Clint Dempsey, but half of that was dedicated to tax.

“Martins will earn between 3 and 4 million US dollars in China and this will be free of any taxes,” a source specially disclosed.

It was further gathered that the former Newcastle United star has agreed a year’s deal with Shanghai Shenhua with an option for another year.

The club had finished sixth last season in the Chinese Super League last season.