Abuja - The Federal Government on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with General Electric Company to invest $1 billion (N158 billion) in assembling and manufacturing facilities in Nigeria.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, signed on behalf of Nigeria while Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman, signed on behalf of the company.
General Electric, a United States Company, is a global leader in energy, health and rail transportation.
The facility is to be located in Calabar, Cross Rivers State with service workshops at Port Harcourt and Onne, Rivers State.
The investment plan, according to Mr. Aganga, will have an initial $250 million (N38 billion) capital expenditure and over $800 million (N120 billion) incremental spending for the next five years. It is expected to create 2300 jobs.
“GE’s size of investment, which is $250 million, for the outset, and $1 billion over the next five years, is significant in every respect,” Mr. Aganga said.
“It is far more important because the investment is in critical areas of our economy, which is power infrastructure.
“This investment will support our Industrial Revolution Plan, which is based on the areas where we have competitive and comparative advantage,” he added.
Mr. Aganga commended GE for committing to support Nigeria’s vision 20: 2020 which is to make the country one of the top twenty best performing economies by year 2020.
He said “the key socio-economic imperatives that will be delivered by this investment are numerous such as job creation, skill development.
“Also technology transfer and local content generation are at the core of the government’s economic development strategy”.
Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in his remarks said “the planned investment will make Nigeria hub for manufacturing, service and innovation.”
Mr. Aganga said the partnership between Nigeria and GE “would create an improved ability to support a broader range of product lines in power generation as well as oil and gas exploration and production”.
The investment is expected to create 2300 jobs, 300 of which will be direct GE hires and the remaining 2000 indirect jobs created through suppliers that will support the expanded programme.
He said 90 per cent of the staff and management of the planned manufacturing facility will be Nigerians.
The company’s spending on locally sourced goods and services, according to the minister, “is expected to increase from $4 million (N600 million) to over $60 million (N9 billion).
The CEO said “GE also plans to build a training facility on its manufacturing site to ensure ongoing employee development.”
“The company will provide one year to four year training programmes locally and internationally for repair engineers, welders, fabricators, machinists and special processing,” he added.
Acting Governor of Cross River State, Effiok Cobham, who described the investment plan as a welcome development, said the state would do everything possible to ensure its sustainability.
He said the plan was part of government’s efforts at attracting foreign investors to the country.
“We shall continue to make Cross River a safe state for investors,” he said.