The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has expressed concerns over the impending displacement of local meter manufacturers and assemblers in the phase II of the National Mass Metering Programme (NNMP).
MAN Director-General, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said this on Thursday in Lagos, in reaction to government’s implementation process of the NMMP Phase II World Bank funded supply of 1.2million smart energy meters.
Ajayi-Kadir said the advertised financial requirements and technical specifications by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) appeared skewed against local manufacturers.
According to him, the requirements are stringent and negate the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guidelines for the implementation of NMMP and portend grave danger for the power sector.
He stressed the need to guide against a repeat of the ugly scenario in 2012 where local manufacturers were sidelined in the meter supply and the nation was greeted with supply of substandard meters supplied by foreign companies.
Ajayi-Kadir stated that position of the TCN was that installation would provide employment opportunities.
He, however, noted that would completely pale into insignificance when compared with a ratio of jobs that would be created if local manufacturers were included in the scheme.
“In keeping with the Federal Government’s backward integration policy and the advent of the NMMP intervention, manufacturers have made huge investments in expansion of manufacturing capacities and trained highly skilled workforce to meet the demands of the power sector.
“The seeming intentional denial of the local manufacturers does not take into cognizance their sterling performance where they deployed and installed 611,231 energy meters across the country between 2019 and 2021.
“They also did same for one million energy meters across the country under the phase zero of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
“It should be recalled that our members have been denied the opportunity to fully execute the contract for the supply and installation of 4 million energy meters under the Phase 1 of the NMMP scheme.
“This was due to the unrealistic terms that arbitrarily fixed the contract prices far below the approved regulatory prices of energy meters in the country.
“Additionally, the contractual term of payment after the supply and installation of the meters have not be adhered to, thereby jeopardizing the financial capabilities of our members that participated in the scheme,” he said.
The MAN DG said that the subsisting Executive order 003 on patronage of made in Nigeria products which gives priority consideration to local businesses should be adhered to.
He said this should have made government interrogated the World Bank documents and actively consulted with Nigerian stakeholders in the sector with a view mainstreaming their inputs.
“As a nation that aspires to make progress and improve the well-being of its people, it is unconscionable that we continuously make the same mistakes.
“We counsel that the excellent constitutional amendment that enlisted power generation and transmission in the concurrent list, should be complemented with the liberalisation of the distribution end of the value chain.
“We are convinced that the liberalisation of the distribution end of the value chain will eradicate bottlenecks and give fillip to the efforts of government to bridge the metering gap and ensure just electricity billing regime,” he said.