We’re not spending $2.2bn in Nigeria, GE replies Buhari

IN contradiction of President Muhammadu Buhari’s postulation in his Independence Day broadcast last Saturday, U.S. industrial firm General Electric (GE) said it was only planning to invest around $150 million in Nigeria by 2017.

Buhari had in his speech said the company had promised to invest $2.2 billion in the country whereas this is what GE intends to spend in the whole of Africa in the near future.

Jay Ireland, chief executive of General Electric in Africa told the FT Africa Summit in London on Monday, “there are development projects where we are investing,”. GE would also invest in oil and gas industry projects.

Ireland said the Nigeria investment was part of a plan to spend $2 billion in Africa in coming years.

But the $150 million Nigerian investment falls short of the sum Nigeria’s government has said GE would invest.

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday in a speech marking Nigeria’s independence day, said GE was “investing $2.2 billion in a concession to revamp, provide rolling stock, and manage” some of the country’s railway lines.

In the speech, Buhari had said inter alia “Abroad, Nigeria’s standing has changed beyond belief in the last 18 months. We are no longer a pariah state. Wherever I go, I have been received with unaccustomed hospitality. Investors from all over the world are falling over themselves to come and do business in Nigeria.

“On railways, we have provided our counterpart funding to China for the building of our standard gauge Lagos -Kano railway.

“Meanwhile, General Electric is investing two point two billion USD in a concession to revamp, provide rolling stock, and manage the existing lines, including the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line. The Lagos-Calabar railway will also be on stream soon.”