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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed called for the signing of two memorandums of understanding between Nigeria and China on the promotion of tourism.
The Minister made the call yesterday in Abuja when the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Chui Jian Chun paid him a courtesy call.
According to the Minister, the two MoUs between the two countries relate to the facilitation of group travel of Chinese tourists to Nigeria and the facilitation of travel through Approved Destination Status (ADS).
“Although the two memorandums of understanding date from 2019, they have not been signed.
“It is important that our two countries work together to negotiate and sign these MoUs to promote tourism between them,” he said.
Mohammed said the relationship between Nigeria and China spans about five decades and the envoy’s visit will further strengthen the very cordial relationship.
Regarding the in-depth cooperation between the two countries in the field of culture and tourism, Mohammed said that Nigeria and China have established cultural centers in Abuja and Beijing respectively.
He said that despite financial constraints that led to the temporary closure of the Nigerian center in Beijing, the country has benefited from cultural exchanges and training from the Chinese government.
“In the field of tourism, Nigeria and China signed a bilateral agreement in 2002 to encourage cooperation in the field of tourism between the two countries.
“The agreement mainly focused on exchange programs, human capacity building, joint marketing and investment.
“Although some of our agents have received a short training on tourism in China and online, the shortage of skilled labor in the tourism sector here has forced us to seek more advanced capacity building.
“We are also looking for a scholarship program in tourism statistics and tourism satellite account (TSA), tourism development, product development, etc. from the Chinese government,” he said. .
Apart from bilateral cooperation on culture and tourism, Mohammed said China has been a worthy ally of Nigeria in building and upgrading infrastructure, especially roads, railways, electricity and aviation.
Mohammed called on the envoy to use his good offices to expedite the appraisal and approval process for a $500 million loan requested from the China Export-Import Bank for three major projects.
The projects, according to the minister, included the digitization of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and the construction of a headquarters complex and transmission network for integrated television services (ITS).
He said the loan was also to be used for the construction of a state-of-the-art media city in Ikorodu, Lagos State.
For his part, the Chinese Ambassador recalled that his country and Nigeria are celebrating in 2021 the 50th anniversary of solid, healthy and beneficial bilateral relations.
He said he was willing to consolidate and further develop the cordial relations between the two countries, especially in the fields of culture and tourism.
The envoy therefore presented the minister with a document on his strategy to further strengthen the cordial relations between the two countries, which he described as “a document of growth, development and progress”.