WE MUST SUPPORT LOCAL METER MANUFACTURERS – FG

As the Electricity Meters Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (EMMAN) lament over off patronage of locally produced meters, which has resulted in the sack of over 600 their workers, the Federal Government has promised to support them through favourable policies.
The Minister of Power, Housing and Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who disclosed that dynamics of the economy would play a key role in the patronage of locally produced meters in the power sector, said: “I think that commercial things should be done by persuasion, reason and the dynamics of the economy.”
Fashola explained that the power sector players, especially distribution companies and meter manufacturers, should embrace persuasion and dynamic of the economy, pointing out that it would make the power sector more competitive in terms of pricing and also competitive in terms of quality for the local market.
According to him, when the market is competitive in terms of pricing and quality, that it would make more business sense to produce and patronise meters locally, noting that there were Nigerian companies that could meet the metering demand in the country, but wondered why there was still a huge meter gap in the power sector.
The Managing Director, Mojec International, Mr. Chantelle Abdul, who equally commented on the challenges of local meter manufacturers, identified lack of finance, especially the manufacturers’ inability to provide some kind of vendor financing to off-takers in the sector.
Abdul said: “One of our critical issues at the moment is lack of access to foreign exchange. A lot of our manufacturing inputs rely on goods abroad. As I mentioned during the minister visit is that my goal as a manufacturer is to produce much of my manufacturing input locally here in Nigeria so that we go as far as producing our chips which is the brain of the meter and all other component that is required.
“There is nothing that stops us from producing the battery that we need, the capacitors that we need. It is sad to say that we don’t have factories that produced those things here in Nigeria,” he stressed.
An official of EMMAN, who also complained of low patronage by electricity distribution companies, said that it could result in non-sustainability of their business, admitting that most of its members had to retrench some of their staff because they could not sustain them due to poor patronage.
While urging the distribution companies to stop importing meters because by doing that, they would be boosting and developing the economies of foreign countries at Nigeria’s expense, he said: “The Federal Government needs to intervene in order to prevent the metering industry from collapsing. Government can compel the DISCOs to buy meters from us, the local manufacturers, because we produce quality meters.
“By doing this, the government will be promoting local- content initiatives introduced to promote the growth of indigenous business operators. At the same time, government will be helping to conserve foreign exchange.”
“Also, monies spent on importing both raw materials and finished goods will be domiciled in that country. When we make do with what we have, we are saving the country from brain drain. The multiplier effects are industrial growth, technological advancement, employment generation and many other things.
“If our members are patronised, they will be providing job opportunities for many unemployed and before long and this will make positive contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We have the capacity to produce 25,000 meters monthly. The five manufacturers currently producing 5,000 meters on monthly basis have the capacities to double their productions.
“Erratic power supply in the country is a major production challenge. This has forced our members to rely on generators. Foreign exchange fluctuations also contribute to meter production challenges. The dollar is extremely high and most of the raw materials for meter-production are not available in the country,” he stressed.

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