Local manufacturers of meters in Nigeria, under the aegis of Electricity Meters Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (EMMAN), have called on the federal government to float a special intervention fund that will be accessible to its members at five per cents interest rate.
The manufacturers have also called on the government to ensure the liberalisation of the electricity meter market to enable local manufacturers sell meters to barracks, government institutions, vendors accredited by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and private estates in the form of bulk sales.
Speaking in Lagos during the inauguration of the upgraded National Meter Test Station at Oshodi, the Executive Secretary of EMMAN, Mr. Muideen Adebayo Ibrahim, said the fund would ensure that locally produced meters are sold to the distribution companies at competitive prices like their counterparts in China.
Ibrahim also called for an accelerated discussion of the Local Content Bill in the power sector for quick passage into law.
According to him, a local content law in the power sector would take the sector to the next level, adding that the accruable gains to Nigerians could better be imagined than described.
Ibrahim said the liberalisation of the meter market to allow manufacturers to sell in bulks to estates, barracks and other buyers would create huge market for the manufacturers and ensure sustained production of meters for the local market.
“Our members are faced with plethora of challenges within the last few years and prominent among these challenges include: low patronage from the distribution companies. As a result of this, our members laid off staff and quite unfortunately, some of them stopped production because the stocks were not evacuated. It happened like that because the major consumers are the distribution companies and since most of the distribution companies did not buy meters, save for skeletal service on CAPMI, it became a huge challenge to our members to sell meters produced”, he explained.
Ibrahim noted that that more Nigerians would be gainfully employed in the event of liberalisation because there would be expansion and continuous production.
“Estimated billing is the order of the day, whereas, soft landing is not given to consumers, who are willing to buy the meters because they are not metered”, he added.
He also urged the Minister of Power to come to the aid of the local manufacturers by ensuring that meters are tested free of charge for the next five years, while a mechanism is urgently put in place to review the current charges downwards.
“Permit me also to use this medium to appeal to you to urgently look into the fees the National Meter Test Station charge our members, especially under the new regime. For example, prototype testing, that is, new meters: Single Phase increased from N25,000 to N150,000, while Three Phase skyrocketed from N50,000 to N200,000. It is worthy to note that the fees currently charged were not put into consideration before the prices of meters were benchmarked. The new regime with respect to fees charged on meter testing is seriously having untold effects on the production costs”, he explained.