An American conglomerate, General Electric, on Thursday, signed a N170bn ($1bn) contract with the Federal Government to build a manufacturing plant in Calabar, the Cross Rivers State capital.
The facility, codenamed ‘Project Emerald,’ consists of a manufacturing/assembly plant to service oil and gas and power sectors.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said the contract signing by the GE was also with indigenous contractors.
She spoke in Abuja during the signing ceremony, stressing that the Nigerian content philosophy was now a key part of every project or activity in the oil and gas industry.
She said, “In January, 2013, the GE’s Global Chairman, Mr. Jeff Immelt, made a commitment that the firm would invest $1bn in Nigeria over a five-year period. Of this amount, $250m was earmarked for capital expenditure that would make Nigeria a regional hub for manufacturing, service and innovation with an improved ability to support a broader range of project lines in oil and gas exploration and production as well as the power sector.
“The company also pledged to spend an additional $800m in local sourcing of goods and services, labour, staff welfare and training. Now, the pivot of this investment was the plan to build a multi-modal manufacturing and assembly facility in Calabar, Nigeria, which will service the oil and gas as well as the power sectors.”
According to her, the GE executive team has promised the facility will create at least 2,300 direct and indirect jobs.
“Again foreign direct investment is not an end in itself; quite clearly, investments of this nature will translate into job creation, technology and skill transfer and transfer of capabilities that were never there before.”
In choosing Julius Berger for the project, the minister said the GE went for a company with proven credentials in Nigeria and beyond.
She noted that Julius Berger would create additional 1,200 jobs through the project in Calabar and assured the investor that the government would continue to provide the required support.
The Global Vice Chairman, GE, Mr. John Rice, said the work by his firm in Calabar would meet the expectation of government and create a model in Nigeria.
He said, “We are proud to be part of this process. For us, this is a critical part of our strategy. We are still an investor and a long term investor and our commitment to follow through on this doesn’t change a bit. We know you will be proud of the work that will be done in Calabar.”
Rice explained that the GE’s plan was to have the first production of the factory in June or July 2016.