Nigeria, yesterday, recorded a milestone in her investment drive as the federal government and General Electric Company of the United States sealed a $1bn (N158bn) investment deal for the establishment of a new manufacturing and assembly facility in Calabar.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the federal government while the Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GE, Mr. Jeff Immelt, led other top executives to sign on behalf of the company.
The new investment also takes care of additional investment in the service workshops in Port Harcourt and Onne and is at the point of execution, according to Immelt.
The deal, which comprises $250million capital expenditure and over $800 million incremental spending on local sourcing of goods and services, is expected to create 2,300 jobs and make Nigeria the regional hub for GE's manufacturing service and innovation in Africa. It will also support the company's power generation, oil and gas production and exploration activities.
Speaking during the event, Aganga said that GE's proposed investment in Nigeria was based on the country's positive macroeconomic indicators.
He said, "This is the beginning of many more investments that will come from GE and we are committed to providing a conducing investment climate for both GE and other foreign investors. I want to congratulate GE for making the right decision by investing in Nigeria because our country has one of strongest macroeconomic environments with average Gross Domestic Product growth of seven per cent in the last 10 years.
"GE's size of investment, which is $250million, for the outset, and $1bilion over the next five years, is significant in every respect. 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."
The minister said, "There is no nation that has moved from being a poor nation to a rich one by exporting raw materials without a strong industrial base and efficient services sector."