Calaba - President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday assured prospective investors in the power sector of conducive environment for investment.
Jonathan gave the assurance in Calabar at the ground-breaking ceremony of the one billion-dollar (N155 billion) investment by General Electric (GE) on Multi-Model Manufacturing and Industrial Services at the Calabar Free Trade zone (CFTZ).
"I will like to assure new and prospective investors both local and international that Nigeria’s power sector remains a veritable viable market for investment.
"I will also like to assure our strategic partners and investors of continued government support in making the emerging market place conducive for business.‘’
Jonathan, who was represented by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, said that GE‘s investment was a result of the confidence the company had in Nigeria's economy.
He said that since the initial memorandum of understanding with the company was signed in 2009 with the Federal Government, the company had maintained a loyal and respectable partnership.
The president said that GE, which is the third largest global investment company had maintained relationship with Nigeria, dating back to the fifties, adding that the government cherished the relationship.
"GE has proven a strategic partner in our transformation agenda, particularly in the power sector. This partnership is most cherished by this administration. ‘’
He described GE as a reliable development partner, adding that the company’s decision to build the biggest power plant in Calabar was a clear demonstration of its confidence in the country’s economy.
He said that the country’s long-term development goals was geared towards making Nigeria among the top 20 economies in the World by 2020.
"As a nation, our long-term development goals are geared towards making Nigeria among the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020.
"And achieving a GDP of at least $900 billion with corresponding GDP per capital income of at least $4,000.
"However, to achieve this laudable economic vision our economy must record double-digit GDP growth consistently for the next 10 years.
"Hence our long-term economic transformation blueprint places renewed emphasis on the total overhaul and upgrade of our power sector."
He said the government had achieved a number of goals in the power sector reform programmes, adding that government was fully committed to the completion of ongoing privatisation of the power sector.
According to him, once the ongoing projects in the sector are completed by the end of the year "we expect to add about 4000mw to our national grid.’’
He said that government was doing everything possible to ensure peace and security in the country.
Earlier, Gov. Liyel Imoke of Cross River, said that GE’s investment was not only a big boost to the economy of the state but the country at large.
Imoke said that his administration had created a conducive environment for business to thrive in the state, adding that GE's investment had added to the growing foreign investment in the state estimated at over two billion dollars.
"Our environment is always conducive for investment," he said.
In his speech, the Global Vice President of GE, John Riise, said that Calabar was considered ahead of other seven states because of its friendly investment climate.
Riise said that the Cross River Government was instrumental to the choice of Calabar, adding that the government provided them with assurances.
He said that one billion-dollar investment was the company’s biggest investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
Several dignitaries attended the ceremony, including members of the state executive council, senators, traditional rulers and members of the business community.