China to buy more crude oil from Nigeria

Following the loss of America’s market for its crude oil last year, China has stepped forward to fill the gap by pledging to buy more oil from Nigeria.

According to the country’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria, Mr. Zhang Bin, the Chinese government is looking forward to importing more of Nigeria's oil, reported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Zhang said China was interested in Nigeria’s oil and that when President Goodluck Jonathan visited China in 2013, the country discussed the possibility of importing more oil from Nigeria.
“And I think we are working on this and we hope that the Nigerian side would allow us to import more.

“Actually what we are looking at is improved economic cooperation between the two countries, we are the third largest trade partner with Nigeria", he said.
He also said the trade volume between Nigeria and China in 2014 exceeded $16 billion, but his country was looking at possibilities of improving balancing of trade with Nigeria.

Zhang said the figure exceeded that of 2013, which he put at $13.5 billion.
He said: “In 2013, the trade volume between Nigeria and China was $13.5 billion and then according to our statistics, from January to November 2014, the trade volume already amounted to $16.47 billion.
“So that means that in the first 11 months, the trade volume exceeded that of the year 2013, which indicates an increase of 35 per cent over the previous year.
“We do have this problem of trade imbalance and the Chinese side is going all out to solve it.

“One of the solutions is that we encourage more Chinese enterprises and companies to import more from Nigeria, especially agriculture products and also some of the manufactured products.”
The envoy explained that a few years ago, China started importing cassava and some agriculture products like cocoa and palm oil from Nigeria.

Zhang said due to the joint efforts of both sides, imports into China from Nigeria had increased by a large margin last year.

According to him, in the first 11 months, there was an increase of 93.7 per cent in China’s imports from Nigeria, adding that the import percentage was almost doubled.

The Chinese official said his country encourages its companies in Nigeria to invest in telecommunications, agriculture, automobile assembling, food processing, energy, mines and solid minerals.

Zhang said China's competitive telecommunication companies like Huawei and ZTE currently supply the Nigeria’s network operators with terminals and broadbands.

Zhang revealed that the business volume of just one Chinese telecommunication company in Nigeria for a year was huge, putting it at about $1 billion. According to him, China and Nigeria were also working on other projects like the rehabilitation projects for the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the Zungeru hydropower project in Niger State.

Credit: Ejiofor Alike/ThisDay