By A’isha Biola Raji
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Maduake yesterday signed a pact on the planned $1 billion investment by General Electric (GE) for multi model manufacturing and assembly facility in Calabar which she said is expected to create over 2300 jobs thereby boosting Nigeria’s economy.
Speaking while signing the pact, the Minister said, “GE’s investment is expected to create 2300 jobs, 300 of which will be direct GE hires and the remaining 2000 indirect jobs created through GE suppliers that will support its expected operations.”
General Electric (GE) is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in New York and headquartered in Fairfield, finding solutions in energy, building, transportation amongst others.
Diezani said GE made a commitment of $1billion investment plan in Nigeria for over a 5-year period. $250 million out of the $1 billion would be earmarked for capital expenditure, which according to her would make Calabar a regional hub for manufacturing, service and innovation.
“The Company also pledged to spend an additional $800 million over 5 years in local souring of goods/services, labour, staff welfare and training,” she said.
She said the investment by GE was made possible through the signing into law of Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry development Act in April, 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Meanwhile, GE announced that Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has emerged as the preferred bidder to build General Electric’s multi model manufacturing and Assembly facility in Calabar.
Julius Berger has also been contracted to build a training facility on the manufacturing site that ensures on-going employee development.
Speaking on the choice of Julius Berger, the Minister said, “They are choosing the company with proven records and proven credentials in similar jobs. They are choosing a Nigerian Company that will in turn, create more jobs,” she concluded.
Also speaking, the Vice Chairman, GE, Mr John Rice said, GE will provide one-year to four-year training programs locally and internationally for repair engineers, welders, fabricators, machinists and special processing.
He said the project will have an improved ability to support a broader range of product lines in power generation as well as oil and gas exploration and production.
According to him, the emergence of Julius Berger in a competitive bidding process is in fulfilment of the pledge made last year by the GE Chairman Mr Jeff Immelt of investing in Nigeria, using Nigeria Company with quality.
The project is expected to be completed after 24 months by Julius Berger Plc.