“We’ve been in the country for a long time but over the last few years our strategy has been to focus on the areas that really matter to the country so the key infrastructure areas like power, oil and gas, healthcare, transportation- both rail and aviation- so those are the key areas,” CEO General Electrics, Lazarus Angbazo told CNBC Africa.
Earlier this year, the chairman of General Electric, Jeffery Immelt, announced that the company will invest 1 billion US dollars over the next five years by building a manufacturing plant to support power generation and oil production. Nonetheless, there are local policies by the government that they have had to adjust to.
“The company is a very big company with a lot of capabilities, so we started with an umbrella partnership that we call country to company and then we’ve cascaded it to sector MOU’s [Memorandums of Understanding] with the government,” he added.
According to Angbazo, in order to execute some of these initiatives, they’ve also had to partner with some local companies like a strategic corporate agreement with the Dangote Group, the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund and Transcorp. The company is also working with the ministry of health and private entrepreneurs in the health sector as well.
“We think we are building a coalition that will allow us to achieve for the country, what the country wants to achieve. We are aligning with the priorities and the aspirations of the Nigerian country.”
The company’s manufacturing plant will be based in the South-Eastern city of Calabar in Cross River State and the investment is expected to create 2,300 jobs and more than 800 million US dollars will be spent to source the goods, services and staff.
“We’ve got about 400 people in Nigeria, we’ve got offices in four locations, sites in about another six, so we have a large footprint but the investment itself is a significant commitment that shows that we looking at Nigeria now as a hub for G.E,” he explained.
General Electrics also signed a MOU with the federal government to produce 10,000 megawatts of power over the next ten years and they are working extensively towards this commitment.
“With the power sector, this is an area that I think the country has done well. The government has done a fairly decent job establishing the regulatory frame work, privatisation phase one is complete, private owners are taking over, phase two is on the way, you’ve got a very transparent, predictable and attractive tariff in place, a couple of the PPA’s have been signed, so basically you have a private market that has taken off or is about to take off,” he said.