By Ismaila Chafe
Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu has said that Nigeria and China have completed arrangements to sign 328 million dollars agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11).
Shehu, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.
The presidential aide said that President Muhammadu Buhari, who arrived Beijing, China, on Saturday, would join his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping to witness the signing of the agreement.
He said the NICTIB 11 agreement would be between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI) at the cost of 328 million dollars facility provided by the Chinese EXIM Bank.
According to him, the bank facility is for the development of NICTIB 11 project which is consistent with the current administration’s commitment to incorporating the development of ICT into national strategic planning under the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“President Buhari and his Chinese host will also witness the signing of the MoU on One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR),’’ he added.
It would be recalled that in 2013, the Chinese leader proposed the initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, with a view to integrating the development strategies of partnering countries.
He said: “During the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders, and Business representatives on the margins of FOCAC, the Nigerian delegation is also expected to sign no fewer than 25 MoUs.
“These include those proposed by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).’’
Earlier, the President on arrival at Capital International Airport, Beijing, at about 9.04 am (Nigerian time), Shehu said Buhari was received by top Chinese government officials including the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to China, Baba Ahmed Jidda and his wife Zahra, the Deputy Chief of Mission, Amb. Bakori Aliyu Bakori and other Nigerian embassy senior staff including the Defence Attaché, Brig-Gen. Temitope Ademola, were among those who received the President.