29 September 2015, Abuja – The Director, China Cultural Centre, Abuja, Charles Onunaiju has stated that Nigeria could diversify its economy by using what he called the China model which involves growth of local industries and increasing their productivity.
Onunaiju explained that the Nigerian economy is hurting because economic experts who served under various governments failed to diversify the economy.
Speaking in Abuja at a ‘Roundtable on Nigeria-China Economic Relations’, the CCC director noted that “imported economic experts”, including the immediate past Minister of Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who promised to diversify the economy failed to do so.
He stated that Nigeria could learn a lot from China which diversified its economy and has grown to become one of the largest in the world.
He said it was not enough for Nigerians to import finished products from China, but they should also export quality local products to the Asian economic giant to earn foreign exchange and stimulate the nation’s economy.
According to him, about 100 products could be exported to China tariff-free and it is an opportunity that should not be missed by Nigerians.
He said, “Nigeria should share notes with China; it is not enough to import goods and products from China. Every administration had been talking about changing the economy from a mono-economy which is dependent on oil to a diversified economy, but nothing had been done so far.
“Even our super economic minister who was plucked from the World Bank and that was expected to diversify the economy did not do so. Though there are concerns about the global economy, but China economic potential is still strong.”
Onunaiju emphasised that China offered an opportunity to the world that should be seized by those who are ready, noting that Africa could gain from partnering with the Asian economic giant.
A former Director, Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, Prof. Joseph Golwa, said there was need for Nigeria to explore areas of “complementarity with China,” stressing that this would benefit the nation more.