Taiwan’ll Partner Tinubu On S’east Tech Revolution Say Envoy Lui

Taiwan’ll Partner Tinubu On S’east Tech Revolution Say Envoy Lui

What is your reaction to Nigeria’s last election?

I have already sent my congratulatory message to the President-elect, His Excellency Bola Tinubu, immediately after the election results were announced…..CONTINUE READING

The election results showcase the confidence that Nigerians have in his leadership and with our shared values as promoters of democracy. Taiwan is confident that his administration will take Nigeria’s economy and social development to new and enviable heights. Hence, the government of Taiwan remains poised that belief in the rule of law and respect of the sovereignty of nations will guide the smooth development of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Taiwan.

Taiwan and Nigeria have shared values and that is the fact that we cherish democracy and freedom so much that we regularly have our democratic elections. No matter what kind of difficulty or challenge that we might face, we do admire the way that Nigerians have carried out their constitutional rights to vote and to have it all counted and come out with a legitimate result of having a new President-elect Tinubu. We congratulate Nigeria’s democracy, including the emergence of a new National Assembly and governors.

For Taiwan people, we watched closely on what Nigeria has done this year because we are having our own democratic election for a new president and our new parliament at the end of this year and early next year. Taiwan and Nigeria share things in common, not just values but a system of democracy. Our new President is going to get inaugurated in May next year and you’re having yours at the end of May this year. My second message is that we are expecting the new government to carry out the few things that would promote a deeper relationship between Taiwan and Nigeria.

First of all, the mutual investment agreement Taiwan and Nigeria which was signed in 1994, had been rather renewed into a new draft, especially from your Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. The content has already been negotiated through a very capable international training and investment negotiation between Nigeria and Taiwan. Now, we are waiting to see that it is signed very soon. So, I think probably, that is one of the news assignments that both Nigeria and Taiwan should work out when the new government is sworn in.

What has been the business relations between Nigeria and Taiwan?

The fact is that there are so many financial and banking activities between Nigeria and Taiwan and both have shown great interest in building closer contacts. Not just the technological support between Nigeria and Taiwan, not just the cooperation between Nigeria and Taiwan, we are also working with your Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria.

We know there are also greater things we are going to do in building a concrete foundation for promoting good investment, promoting good enhancement of financial institutions. Then, we come up with the actual training, because training is the new issue but rather we can renew in some other ways. Taiwan and Nigeria’s mutual training value had reached almost $1billion in 2021.

That was a historical milestone because the trade value between Taiwan and Nigeria in 2021 was actually a 210 percent jump from the year 2020. Even during the COVID period, the trading between Taiwan and Nigeria has jumped so much from 2020 to 2021. That was the first time ever in our history. Although 2022 we have seen little percentage drop but the overall training has shown visible, great interest of Taiwan importers to import more good quality Nigerian raw material especially in the area of agriculture.

What other prospects for area collaboration do you see between Taiwan and the incoming government?

From a long term observance of Nigerian politics, economic, social and all kinds of development, our office has been quite happy to see and to hear that during the presidential campaign, President-elect mentioned in the South-South and South-East that he would like to promote the South-East to become to Nigeria what Taiwan is to Asia. We are happy to hear that Mr. Tinubu has shared openly, publicly that he wants to make certain parts of Nigeria which have great potential to become a Taiwan-like economy in the future. Taiwan is not like Nigeria. You have almost all the natural resources and energy, especially oil.

We in Taiwan feel that we are unlucky, we have nothing like natural resources but technology. That’s why we envy Nigeria very much. With Mr. Tinubu’s announcement that he would like to make the South-South or South- East to become like Taiwan, that means he knows us as a reference module for Nigeria in the area of technology, and we are ready to assist in this area. We are ready and we are waiting patiently for the new government to talk to us about how to fulfill his proclamation of making certain parts of Nigeria to be the future environment of Taiwan as a nation or in Africa.

If you want to talk about attracting investors into Nigeria to set up either industrial loan or cooperation, there must be one precondition. That is we must have good and well-educated labour or workforce that can be employed either in the long term or in the short term. Our business module is one that when investors come in, we let them know that we have a well-educated population that they can employ locally and then do proper vocational training. Our module is to have vocational training after Grade Nine or after 15 years old, before they come into high school.

They can choose if they want to go for vocational training or go to regular high school and higher education. We would like to know whether Nigeria will have a long term finding to do vocational training for any particular type of industry that our investors will be able to know if they can hire and get job opportunities for the Nigerian younger generation. This is because in Taiwan, we are almost turn- ing ourselves from the labour intensive industry into more capital and technology intensive. Though we do quite well, a few industries still need large amounts of labor.

Large number of workforce in the factory, in the assembly line. That’s why our industry moved out from China into South-East Asia, into Malaysia, Indonesia. Now, they have moved to India, because those companies are chasing after good quality, but rather low cost of labour. I think Nigeria’s workforce can provide opportunities like that. I am not saying that Nigeria is not lacking in the area of workforce.

Nigeria has an abundant workforce, but the way you want to attract investors, you need to demonstrate whether or not you have the ability to train or to get proper education for young generation. And if our investors would like to come in to investigate or to review, then, we can bring some of our vocational training facilities for some of our training for capacity building in Nigeria so that we can move almost the same direction with three to four different forces moving at the same time.

What is the first step in order to make this a reality?

Having an agreement of mutual investment being signed first is important, so that our people will know the sincerity and seriousness of the Nigerian government. Also our investors should be encouraged to come in to do the investment review or to do the investigation under the goodwill of your government. But first of all, our office needs a demonstration that it has been treated fairly, and has been treated with certain kind of respect from the Nigerian government. Our government, our parliament and our business people know that Nigeria means business.

That is what Tinubu has been showing that he means business, that he wants to do some to fulfill his campaign promises. If we keep the most advanced and core technology of semiconductor and microchip aside, if we talk about a few industries that will really benefit any country. What I learned from your Ministry of Industry is that the Nigerian government has set up the plan to develop electric vehicles, like the Tesla of Elon Musk. Quite a large percentage of Tesla cars are actually run by Taiwanese companies because the computerised system for sensors, for driving, for organising all the data are mainly Taiwanese companies.

Although we would like to compete with the Japanese battery, but we still try to contribute quite a lot to Elon Musk Tesla. In recent months, we have seen Saudi Arabia also wanting to work with one of our Taiwanese Enterprise called Fos- cum to set up something similar in the Middle East for electric vehicles (EV). We are happy to see that Nigeria has set up a strategic planning for developing of EV in the future. Maybe that is something we can talk about. It is rather mature technology going into electrical vehicles, instead of talking too much about the highly advanced microchip. That is something that is really difficult to move to some other parts of the world.

But having cooperation or setting up certain kinds of industrial products concerning how to promote your government’s future planning for EV, because we don’t take that much into the traditional kind of petrol engine anymore. We focus on EV. Nigeria might have a very good chance to become a leading role in West Africa or in the whole Africa about EV because it would be a brand new way of manufacturing cars than the old traditional type of diesel or petrol engine. Another area is medical and health.

Like I mentioned, Taiwan has a good record for preventing COVID, we are still running a very good national health insurance system and we have very advanced medical and health related technology and industry. We can always share with the world how to make proper pharmaceuticals. They’re so many changes we can explore, so we are waiting and we are going to see how the new government is going to point out what Nigeria would like to have in one or two years, three to five years, so that Taiwan can do something to cope with. I don’t want to say Taiwan can help but Taiwan can assist the developing project.

It all depends on how your new government under the leadership of Tinubu is going to point the direction and in that direction, maybe your Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, or even your Ministry of Health should send a high ranking government delegation of permanent secretary level, to visit Taiwan so that we can resume with what we have stopped in 2014 or 2015, what we call the permanent secretary level of dialogue and Nigerian government. We were doing well along that line in the past. We don’t know why it stopped. It is a good time to resume…..CONTINUE READING

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