By MICHAEL EBOH
President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, inaugurated the General Electric’s $1bn service and manufacturing facility in Calabar.
The ground breaking ceremony followed the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga; and the Global Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of GE, Mr. Jeff Emmelt, in January.
Represented by the Vice-President, Arch. Namadi Sambo, Jonathan said the groundbreaking ceremony would not only give a fine boost to the administration’s Transformation Agenda, it would also further strengthen the improved confidence in the Nigerian business environment by both local and foreign investors.
He said it also confirmed the commitment of the Federal Government to revitalising the Nigerian economy within the lifetime of the current administration through policies and projects that would pave the way for increased production activities, job creation and wealth generation.
In his remarks, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment said the ground breaking further demonstrated that the current administration was not just interested in investment commitments, but in monitoring the processes to the execution stage.
He noted that GE had, over the past 125 years, swiftly evolved to seize new opportunities created by changes in technology and the economy as a frontline multi-business organisation.
He said, “It is therefore not surprising that the company has moved smartly to explore the favourable investment opportunities that abound in Nigeria. Today, the company is building new platforms in industries and markets with GDP growth that provide opportunities to apply acquired technology and management expertise to accelerate development and growth in both developed and emerging economies.
“The decision made in recognizing the potential of Nigeria becoming your base, where other African Countries would be served, will give a greater opportunity to demonstrate your innovation capabilities and home grown solutions to other African countries’ problems.”
In 2009, GE signed a landmark Country-to-Company agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria, aimed at forging a strategic partnership that would see the two parties working together on high growth opportunities and investment in support of Nigeria’s transformation objectives.
The minister also noted that in 2012, as part of the Country-to-Company agreement, GE and the Federal Government of Nigeria signed three Memorandum of Understanding agreements (MOUs) for the energy, healthcare and rail transportation sectors.
Aganga said, “Recently, precisely on 31st January, 2013, the nation recorded a milestone in its investment drive as the Federal Government of Nigeria and Messrs GE sealed an investment deal of $I billion dollars (N158 Billion) on the establishment of a Best-in-class assembly in Calabar.
“I signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which gave birth to this significant event on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria while the Global Chairmen and Chief Executive Officer of GE, Mr Jeff Emmelt, led other top executives to sign on behalf of the company.”