The United States ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, has described Nigeria as a country conducive for direct foreign investments, pledging that the US will continue to encourage American companies to invest in Nigeria.
Entwistle said contrary to the impression being created in some quarters, Nigeria was a pleasant place to do business, as long as foreign investors were ready to adapt to the country’s peculiarities.
The US envoy said this on Monday during his visit to the manufacturing and assembly facility being planned by General Electric in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
Entwistle was quoted to have said this in a statement by General Electric on Monday.
The statement also quoted him as saying that he was impressed with GE’s investment commitment to Calabar facility, adding that the assembly being put up in the city would go a long way in improving the lot of the local and national community.
“General Electric has proved, through this project, that foreign direct investment could thrive in Nigeria,” Entwistle was quoted to have said.
The statement also quoted the President and the Chief Executive Officer of GE Nigeria, Dr. Lazarus Angbazo, as thanking the US envoy for the tremendous support of GE investment commitments in Nigeria.
He said, “GE remained committed to localising operations in the country through job creation, technology and skills transfer, training and supplier development.”
Angbazo also disclosed that over 90 per cent of GE’s management team in Nigeria was made up of Nigerians.
According to the statement, GE’s investment plans for Nigeria included a $250m capital expenditure for the manufacturing facility in Calabar, aimed at making Nigeria a regional hub for manufacturing, service, and innovation with an improved ability to support a broader range of product lines in power generation as well as oil & gas exploration and production.
The company will also invest significantly over the next five years in local souring of goods/services, labour, staff welfare and training.
The planned investment is expected to create 300 new jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs through over 50 new suppliers who will support its expanded operations.
GE also plans to build a training facility on its manufacturing site to ensure on-going 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.