The Chinese government on Saturday in Lagos announced a visa exemption for Nigerian diplomats and senior government officials with effect from Feb. 1.
The outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Deng Boqing, made the announcement at the “Nigeria-China Business Roundtable and Luncheon” in Lagos, organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
Deng said the decision became imperative after an agreement recently reached by President Goodluck Jonathan and the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
“We all know that visa issue is very important for the purpose of promoting our countries’ relations.
“We have, therefore, decided to offer visa exemption for Nigerian diplomats and senior government officials in a first phase.
“In the future, we will also be working with the Nigerian government to simplify other citizens’ visa application process.
“China is prepared to promote people-to-people interaction between the two countries,’’ he said.
The Chinese ambassador advised Nigerian and Chinese business communities to be friendly in promoting business interaction between them.
He said Chinese investors planned to increase their Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria in the New Year and beyond.
Deng said trade between both countries increased by 25 per cent in the last three years.
The envoy commended Nigerians for the encouragement and support he enjoyed during his tenure as ambassador.
The NIIA Director-General, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, urged the Chinese government to also facilitate visa processes for Nigerian businessmen and women.
Akinterinwa said there were lots of trade and business relations between both countries, which he said Nigerians should take advantage of.
He said the business roundtable was organised to bring Nigerian businesses and their Chinese counterparts together for effective interaction and business transactions.