Former governor of Abia, Dr Orji Kalu, on Tuesday urged industrialists to take advantage of the Nigeria-China currency swap deal to commence intensive production and processing of food for export.
Kalu, a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
He said the Nigeria-China currency swap deal had provided the country with an option of fourth international currency to transact business with the second largest economy in the world.
The Central Bank of Nigeria on May 3 announced the execution of a $2.5 billion bilateral currency swap agreement with the Peoples Bank of China to boost local currency liquidity in the economy.
The deal is expected to assist local businesses by reducing the difficulties they encounter in the search for third currencies.
According to Kalu, the deal can only be meaningful if industrialists in the country adopt the 1940s China model of mass production and processing of food for export.
He said: “The deal is a tremendous break-through by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. It’s going to definitely bring an ease to trade between the two countries.
“It is also going to help a lot of commercial people, but I hope, Nigerians will stand up to start manufacturing items, especially food for export to China.
“The mass production of food and processing of same would help the country not to become a dumping ground for hi-tech China products.
“We do not need to go into hi-tech, we need to start feeding ourselves first. We should be able to grow food, process the food, and make it good to earn us foreign exchange.
“The importance of the deal cannot be over-emphasised, as it would undoubtedly reduce the chase for US dollars which have made the naira weak.
“I am excited and grateful to both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council and to also the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele for their tremendous appetite for fourth currency to do business with.”
On how the United States would react to the deal, Kalu said Nigeria was an independent country, adding that it reserved the right to enter into any profitable deals.
Kalu, however, said the US Government was interested in the growth of Nigeria, adding that the deal had not affected the use of the US dollars in any way.
Speaking on the herdsmen and farmers clashes, Kalu said it would not adversely affect food production.
He said that the president was also worried, adding that the situation would soon abate.