President/CEO of General Electric, Dr. Lazarus Angbazo, who spoke at a press conference in Lagos recently, said: “Over 40 Nigerian companies are currently suppliers to GE and we are looking at doubling the number to enable more Nigerian companies become suppliers to GE both in Nigeria and abroad, for the purpose of developing local Nigerian companies that will become part of GE global supply chain.”
In doing so, we will first encourage local content growth among the companies, especially the ones whose products are in high demand in Nigeria. This is a major undertaking under the country to company memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between GE and the federal government in Nigeria in 2009, which is a major trust in the transformation agenda of the government, in localisation, he said.
Government, through the Ministry of Communications Technology, had last year, launched the local content guidelines for operating companies in the country, and government is keen at implementing it to the letter, owing to the importance of local content development in driving economic and social reforms in any society.
According to Angbazo, local content development is critical to national development, and GE, as a technology backbone for all manufacturing and telecommunications companies in the country, has gone far in ensuring that the local content policy of government is successful.
“Our Calabar factory is to localise most equipment in the country and get them manufactured in the factory that will be commissioned in 2016,” he said.
He added: “Although we are in our core business in oil and gas, but we are not Chevron or NNPC. So the plan is that all the equipment that are coming into the country through importation and supplied by GE, will be localised and produced from our Calabar factory and that is one way to address local content, by localising the business and start manufacturing those equipment here in Nigeria in the next three years.”
Although he said the time frame for full localisation would take some time, but he assured Nigerians that it must be achieved.
“Building infrastructure takes some time, especially when we are gradually moving from a government monopoly to competitive private sector reform. Private sector is involved in heavy borrowing to accomplish some of its products. There is progress and we need to support the industry rather than talking of time lines. This is because we need technicians, engineers that will manage it and we are currently training them,” he said.
– This Day