By Charles Ugwu
The fact remains that China-Nigeria relations is growing by the day to the admiration of many. The relations have expanded on growing bilateral trade and strategic cooperation. China is considered one of Nigeria’s closest allies and partners. China is also one of Nigeria’s important trading and export partners. There are many clear evidences of its numerous gains showing glaringly. China as at today has shown more concern to many of Nigeria’s challenges especially in infrastructural development than any other nation. This best explains China’s total commitment in lifting many out of poverty and spreading prosperity through it numerous interventions.
Moreover, the new shift in China-Nigeria relations could be likened to a number of factors among the most vital is the recent phenomenon of increased income for both China and Nigeria. This also saw economic complementarities between the two nations. More interestingly, there is this market opportunities which drive the relationship for optimum gains.
As Nigeria peoples are looking for quality products (made in Nigeria with China), Chinese growing manufacturing firms are seeking market opportunities for their intermediate and final manufactured products from Nigeria. This reality has greatly encouraged input sourcing and export promotion drive of both nations which is another dimension of the economic complementarities. Chinese companies are sourcing for raw materials from Nigeria locals and Nigerian exporters are seeking market opportunities for their primary products which are win-win Co-operation.
Above all, China’s ability to provide the financial and technical assistance (at concessionary interest rate or /and with aid) to Nigeria which is in need of such is another critical feature. The repeated political visits by Nigerian government and the reciprocal visits by the Chinese Government which led to the signing of bilateral Trade Treaties and Memorandum of Understandings between the two nations have also strengthened the relationship more.
Beyond country relations, Chinese companies in Nigeria are building much needed roads and railways, airports, and telecommunications infrastructure. There are currently about 218 registered Chinese firms in Nigeria. They are involved in construction, furniture, food and beverages, beauty, and product assembling plants, among others. They have opened more trading corridors which have helped the locals to develop their potentials. Thousands of Nigerians are in the employ of these companies where they are being remunerated well.
One of the notable of these companies is YongXing Steel Company Nigeria Limited. YongXing is a dully registered steel smelting and manufacturing enterprise that is engaged in purchasing local scrap iron to produce various steel products, it not only recycles local scrap iron resources, but also greatly promotes the development of the local economy.
YongXing has a reputation of fulfilling its obligation in terms of paying its tax as at when due and never had any issue with local tax administration. There is no doubt that many company are in the habit of defaulting in tax payment and will find themselves in running battle with Federal Inland Revenue Service, office saddled with the responsibility of collecting taxes for government for the effective running of its affairs.
Many Nigerians, who are on the employ of YongXing Steel do not only get good remuneration but better skills to compete favourably with their counterparts. The company given its good salary scale has greatly uplifted the living standard of its employees and their dependants
The truth remains that Nigeria is not even near to becoming steel sufficient in near future, but with the activities of YongXing Steel using scrap iron resources for production, Nigeria does not have to spend huge amounts of money to import steel products, which indirectly helps Nigeria save foreign exchange. With this welcome development, we will begin to move forward towards achieving steel sufficient which is the bedrock of any development.
In conformity with the popular mantra that “Wealth Comes from the Society” YongXing is incurable addicted to developing local economy to benefit local communities’ thereby encouraging People-To-People contact. Their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is equal to none as they have greatly impacted the lives of their host communities and other Nigerians too numerous to mention here. Anywhere they are, YongXing opens development corridors for trade to thrive and humanity uplifted.
The company has helped locals repair roads, build blocks of classrooms for schools, donate money and materials to Benin orphanages many times. These are tangible and practical incentives given by YongXing towards building good relation with Nigeria peoples. These have been getting commendation from individuals, stakeholders and government officials as well.
With the advent of Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, YongXing greatly demonstrated that a “friend in need is a friend in deed” by coming to the aid of the suffering masses who were in one way or the other displaced economically due to the lockdown imposed by Federal Government to forestall further spread of the virus. The company deployed enormous manpower and financial resources to assemble large number of Covid-19 prevention materials and edible goods for the sustenance of the people, which were donated to communities.
YongXing Steel Company identified firmly with the Local society. In April 2020, the anti-epidemic materials they donated to society mainly include: 350,000 ordinary protective masks, 10,000 pairs of medical rubber gloves, 18,000 test papers, 200 boxes of disinfectant, 40 disinfection equipment, 10,000 kg of rice flour, etc. At the donation ceremony, major Nigeria print and broadcast mediums were there to report from the point of knowledge.
They also went back to give succor tom people trapped in economic hardship from May to August 2020 when the epidemic was at its worst. The company has repeatedly donated money and anti-epidemic materials to various social organizations, including the University of Benin and Ogua community in Benin etc to help locals to overcome difficulties together. As if that was not enough, in 2020, it gave a total of more than 200 million naira to various peoples as donations.
When many companies were hiding under Covid-19 pandemic to retrench and even cut salaries, YongXing did not cut salary or staff strength. They were considerate even when it was convenient to downsize knowing that outside is hard. Dramatically, it increased wages and benefits for their staff, double salary and bonus for employees working in the company. Tell me how best to take care of an employee by an employer other than this?
Unfortunately, upon all these good deeds that are associated with this company which are verifiable, it has come under attack from some paid writers who are desirous of spoiling the hard earned reputation of this company that is greatly impacting the steel sector of our economy.
It is an established fact that YongXing Steel has a small purchasing point that engages in collecting waste iron scraps in Tungamaje along Lokoja Abuja expressway Gwagwalada, Abuja. Its purchasing point is legitimate and does not and will never accept stolen and illegal waste materials as it is committed to best world practices of integrity and professionalism. They only buy waste that is discarded and useless. The branch has posted a striking notice which was drafted by their legal advisor a long time ago to emphasis the attitude of refusal of stolen and illegal waste materials.
YongXing legal adviser is a learned gentleman, well vast in the business of law. Ever since he was hired by the company, he has approached every matter with dexterity with respect to rule law being his watchword.
The majority of iron scraps the company collects are household waste materials like tomato canes and roof zincs, while a small minority of materials is collected from abandoned large mechanical equipment and useless metals from some factories, organizations or government which are supplied by variant local suppliers.
Only a few of waste railway tracks and sleepers were supplied to their point by local suppliers a few months ago. Compared with the purchasing quantity by other steel companies in Abuja, it is too small to be mentioned. Once they see these kinds of materials, it is in their tradition to ask suppliers for relevant documents before acceptance. The bitter truth is that all the company does is to purchase waste iron scrap.
It is unfortunate that some writers will quickly rush to press without hearing from both sides. It underscores the fundamental objective of journalism profession and we must desist from this henceforth for a better reportage.
Finally, YongXing Steel being media friendly is ready to state its own side of the story anytime they are called upon and will always obey local laws by conforming to government directive anywhere everywhere as it has demonstrated in the past.
Charles Ugwu is an Abuja based Media Practitioner