Jonathan assures oil price slump won’t affect domestic economic stability

President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo and General Electric (GE) Vice Chairman and CEO, Mr. John Rice*Regrets years of ‘doing big oil business’ not creating jobs for Nigerians 

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

05 December 2014, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians and foreign investors that the Nigerian economy will remain stable despite the drop in global oil prices.

President Jonathan gave the assurance when a delegation of multinational industrial giant, General Electric (GE), led by its Vice Chairman and CEO, Mr. John Rice, paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The President said the Federal Government will do everything possible to maintain domestic economic stability, and urged the company to maintain its confidence in the country.

“We promise our people that even with the drop in oil prices, the economy will be stable. We have good professionals with global outreach.

“I urge you to maintain the confidence you have in this country before the oil price drop, and even expect better management from us.”

The President noted that, “Sometimes, it is when you are challenged that you do better than when everything looks good.

“But now that we have seen some signs everybody is looking at the book and looking at the various options accurately and properly.

“So, I assure you, other investors in this country and all Nigerians that the government will do everything necessary to stabilise the economy and that the drop in the price of crude oil will not create so much distortion in our economy,” he said.

The President thanked GE for its commitment to increase its investment in Nigeria with the attendant benefit of job creation for many more Nigerians.

He said that the focus of his administration had been job creation and economic expansion, which he described, as one of the greatest problems facing governments around the world.

President Jonathan also welcomed GE’s plans to set up a facility in Calabar to manufacture components for the oil and gas sectors.

“We are quite impressed by your investment in the oil and gas sector.

“Though Nigeria has been in the oil business since the 60s, before this time, you hardly see local manufacture of its facilities, we export the jobs.

“Yes, we are doing big business in oil, it does not translate into job creation.

“But with companies like General Electric and others that are exploiting the Nigerian Local Content Act, jobs are being created for young Nigerians,’’ he said.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, Mr. Rice told the President that GE has committed about $30 million to the development of the Calabar Plant and was already undertaking the training abroad of some Nigerians who will work there.

He said that the plant would produce sophisticated equipment for General Electric’s oil and gas business in the country with the multiplier effect of creating thousands of more jobs for Nigerians.

He said that the company had started the process with land preparation at the project site, training of local manpower to be engaged in the facility, among others.

He said, “We will be doing training and leadership development. We have 45 Nigerians that are being trained; we have sent them to the United Kingdom and Brazil.

“And we will be bringing them back to work in this facility when it is up and running.

“We have started the process with our suppliers to qualify them and to certify their capabilities. So, we are not holding back, we are moving forward,’’ Rice said.

He said on completion, the facility would increase the number of the company’s workforce from the current 600 to 1,300.

Rice assured the president that the fluctuation in global oil prices would not affect the commitment of General Electric to the country because of the encouragement coming from the government.

He expressed his company’s appreciation of the support and encouragement being extended by the Federal Government to foreign investors and assured the President that fluctuations in global oil prices will not affect the commitment of GE to the country.

He said the company had achieved so much in the country due to the backing of the Ministers of Petroleum Resources, Power, Health and Finance.

About the Author