Nigerian experts say China should consider establishing local manufacturing plants as the country has the raw materials and human resources needed to run successful industry.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of China Homelife, which showcased the products of the world’s fastest-growing country, Anayo Agu, special adviser to the Enugu State governor on SMEs, said Nigeria has been and remains the choice market in Africa for foreign investors, because of its population, strategic location, allocation and abundance of resources that can be used for production. He said the country represents an incredible opportunity for companies that intend to explore opportunities in West Africa and Africa as a whole.
“We are no longer interested in importing goods, rather we want to localise what is consumed in the country, especially if we want to help the SMEs in Nigeria grow and also create jobs for Nigerian citizens,” Agu said.
“We have the raw materials and skills to produce most of the goods presently imported, so we encourage those in other countries to establish businesses in Nigeria or enter into a partnership with Nigerian companies,” he added.
He said the problem of most investors is their scepticism towards long-term investment plans in the country and advised the participants to seek opportunities to localise their products and establish themselves. He added that the government is capable of ensuring measures to create an enabling environment for them, including use of tools such as tax waivers, land provision, enabling policies and government intervention.
He urged the government to move the country to the next level and incorporate economic growth from subsistence to industrialisation while fostering policies that will improve citizens’ standard of living.
The 2019 exhibition, which started on May 16, was the second year in the series, and was graced with over 2,500 participants from China as well as Nigeria, with 160 exhibitors showcasing various products in the manufacturing sector, including machines, furniture, appliances, and leather goods.
Binu Pillai, chief operating officer of Meorient FT, said there are various factors that make Nigeria attractive to business owners, including its population, opportunities, strategic location and the dynamics of the market. He said the turnout for the second edition of the exhibition was greater than the first edition, which was encouraging.
Jude Chime, organising coordinator for the exhibition, said the exhibition was aimed at promoting business relationships between China and Nigeria, improving industrial partnership as well as reducing Nigeria’s reliance on importation, adding that the exhibition offerred consumers a platform to purchase standard products at competitive prices.
Onwordi Emeka, one of the participants, who was already on his way to becoming a partner to one of the firms, expressed his excitement and said, “Leveraging on this platform, I just got myself an international business partner. This will be a boost for my business as I engage in importation, buying and selling of products.”