Electricity Meter Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (EMMAN) has warned that it would no longer condone acts capable of undermining its position in the industry. Its Secretary, Mr. Muhideen Ibrahim, said the allegation levelled against the company by some distribution companies (DisCos) that it produces inferior meters compared to the ones imported from China and other countries, was not true.
He said local meter manufacturers have suffered a lot in the hands of DisCos and their foreign partners, which publicly criticised them for producing substandard meters. Besides, the DisCos said EMMAN members did not manufacture the meters, that they only import accessories and assemble them.
Ibrahim said: “Criticism is part of life. Without criticism, it would be difficult to improve on the quality of one’s product or services. But the criticism must be objective in order to achieve the goal intended. That is the area where meter manufacturers in Nigeria are having grouse with people that are criticising their product.
“While it is true that there are producers of substandard products in the country, it would be hasty to generalise that all Nigerians are fake. In the meter manufacturing sub-sector of the industry, meters were produced in line with international standards. That is why the products are certified by duly recognised institutions before they were sold.’’
Ibrahim also said some DisCos were buying the locally-made meters because they are good and can give them good results. “Why did DisCos keep buying our meters? If the meters are of lower quality, as some sections of the society are made to understand, they would have stopped since,” he added
He said the Federal Government licensed four companies to produce meters, adding that the firms have tried to improve capacity in recent times. The companies are MOMAS Nigeria Limited, UNISTAR Nigeria Limited, MOJEC Nigeria Limited, and EMCON Nigeria Limited, he said, stressing that MOMAS has the capacity to produce 50,000 meters monthly, while the other three firms produce between 20,000 to 30,000 meters a month.
He lauded the Federal Government for its local content initiative, urging it to fulfill its promise of making Nigerians consume what they produce, in order to grow the economy.
He said countries such as China, Korea, Germany, United States and others grew because they were able to improve on their production, urging Nigeria to follow their footsteps.
Also the Chairman, MOMAS Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kola Balogun, said the sub-sector has what it takes to compete with their counterparts abroad. He said the firms were able to manufacture prepaid meters and smart meters, despite infrastructural deficiency in the country.
He said DisCos were importing smart meters at a higher cost, adding that paying local producers of meters for services rendered to them has become a problem to electricity distributing companies.
Balogun said: “The only snag or problem is that there is no infrastructure in place to do it. This is in the area of technology. Providing smart meters require a communication infrastructure, and that technology is not in place in Nigeria. Do we have the technology in place? No. When they say smart meters, they are talking about meters that provide a two-way communication. The communication takes place between the consumers and their meters. You can sit in your office and know what is happening to your meters at home.”