The Federal Government’s intention of injecting one million new electricity meters into the country through local manufacturers may be reversed due to recent developments.
The immediate administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had initiated the scheme with the funds for the meters deposited upfront in one of the banks.
On January 15 this year, the then Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, announced the President’s approval of the funds for the procurement of the one million meters, which the government said would be given to Nigerians to cushion the effects of inadequate metering in the power sector.
The Chairman, Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited, Mr. Kola Balogun, said in a telephone interview that the statistics on the deal could not be ascertained at the moment.
Balogun, who runs the biggest local meter plant in the country, described the past government’s move as laudable and urged the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to ensure that the dream did not die.
He also confirmed to our correspondent that his company had not been contacted by the current administration in respect of the metering project.
The Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, said in an interview that conformity to contemporary technology was key if the stakeholders must accept electricity meters from local manufacturers.
Dikki, who stressed the need for competitiveness in the power sector, said it would make economic sense to leverage the capacity of local manufacturers, as patronising them would go a long way in saving costs and overcoming some of the logistics challenges of the power distribution companies and other stakeholders.
He said, “Now, one cannot lobby the government that one’s product should be patronised. The product should speak for itself and meet the required standards.
“Even the Discos cannot be forced to use locally manufactured meters. The power sector in Nigeria is now private sector driven. There is a limit to which things can be pushed.”
By the terms of the project, the distribution companies are expected to distribute and install the meters.
Findings by our correspondent showed that some electricity distribution companies had dumped the idea of sourcing their meters from indigenous manufacturers and had resorted to buying from foreign firms like Huawei, ZTE and others.
Some of the Nigerian meter manufacturers described the development as a total disregard for the local content regulation currently in place in the country.
Findings by our correspondent showed that electricity distribution companies like Ikeja and Jos, among others, were currently getting their meter supplies from foreign manufacturers.
The regulation on the National Content Development for the Power Sector 2014 was issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on December 24, 2014 pursuant to the powers conferred on NERC to issue regulations and in furtherance of regulator’s object to ensure the optimal utilisation of resources for the provision of electricity services in the country.
The central theme of the regulation is to promote the deliberate utilisation of local human and material resources in the Nigerian electricity supply industry by all entities that hold licences to carry out any regulated activity, including electricity generation and distribution.