Nigeria to attract 1.3 million Chinese tourists, calls for facilitation of $500 million media digitalization loan

The Nigerian Government has announced that it plans to attract 1.3 million Chinese tourists annually to Nigeria through the signing of two MoUs.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Ministry of Information and Culture after the minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, received the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Chui Jian Chun, who was on a courtesy visit to the minister’s office.

He stated that the FG seeks the activation of the MoUs to tap into the Chinese tourism markets. He also urged China to facilitate a $500 million loan for the digitization of NTA.

What the Minister is saying

The statement said Lai Mohammed called for the signing of the two Memoranda of Understanding between Nigeria and China in an effort to boost tourism between the two countries.

He revealed the two MoUs are on the Facilitation of Group Travels by Chinese Tourists to Nigeria as well as Travel Facilitation through the Approved Destination Status (ADS).

He added that China has huge tourism attractions to give effect to the MoU, citing that if just 1% of the 130 million Chinese tourists who travel annually comes to Nigeria, that will be 1.3 million tourists, which will be a big boost to tourism in Nigeria.

“There are two MoU between Nigeria and China on the Facilitation of Group Travels by Chinese Tourists to Nigeria and Travel Facilitation through the Approved Destination Status (ADS). Though the two MoU date back to 2019, they have not been signed. It is important that our two countries work together to negotiate and sign these MoU to promote tourism between them,” Mohammed said.

He revealed that in 2002, Nigeria and China signed a Bilateral Agreement to encourage cooperation in the field of tourism between both countries, adding that the agreement focused mainly on exchange programmes, human capacity building, joint marketing and investment.

On the $500 million media digitalisation loan from China, the Minister stated the loan would be used for the execution of three major projects in the public broadcast sector.

“Also worthy of mention, Your Excellency, is the 500-million-dollar loan which we are seeking from the China Export-Import Bank for three major projects – the digitization of the NTA, the construction of a headquarters complex and transmission network for Integrated Television Services (ITS), a Federal Government-owned signal distributor that is a major component of the country’s Digital Switch Over (DSO), and the construction of an ultra-modern Media City in Ikorodu.

I want to use this opportunity to appeal to Your Excellency to continue to use your good offices to fast-track the evaluation and approval process of the loan by the China Export-Import Bank, and to thank you for your efforts so far in this regard,” Mohammed said.

Ambassador Chui said China is re-strategizing its bilateral relations with Nigeria to focus on Growth, Development and Progress.

He added that a new strategy called the “5 GIST”, will be a holistic, complete and sustained approach to focus on political support, economic cooperation, security and military collaboration, international affairs coordination, infrastructure, ICT, industry, investment, import and export, among others.

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