Meter manufacturers seek extension of NNMP phase zero deadline
Some of the Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) have explained why they may not be able to meet up with the June 30 Federal Government’s timeline for phase zero of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
This has however created discordant tunes among manufacturers of electricity meters under the aegis of MAP, as many of those who are importing the goods have delivered the number of meters allotted to them and are eager to move to the next phase of the scheme.
Majority of those seeking the extension are indigenous producers, who said there should be a level of consideration for them, as they have to go through the nitty-gritty of production to suit Nigeria’s requirements.
The indigenous producers and others were expected to provide the one million meters under the NMMP as a strategy to increase domestic manufacturing capacity, create additional jobs and conserve scarce foreign exchange.
But as at the time of filing this report, The Guardian was reliably informed that many of the local producers could not meet up with their target, as they have not been able to deliver their products to the Distribution Companies (DisCos).
For instance, Eko Disco told The Guardian that it has only received 50 per cent of the total number of meters allotted to its installers, however, Ikeja DisCo whose vendors are Mojec, Conlog and New Hampshire has received all the 106,701 meters allotted to it.
“Out of the 106,701 meters, we have metered 100,000 and those remaining have been assured of getting metered as soon as possible,” Head of Corporate Communication at Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue said.
Also, Chief Operating Officer at Ibadan DisCo, Engr John Ayodele, stated that from the 105,000 meters allocated to IBEDC under Phase zero of NMMP, it has only met 69,000 of its customers.
Speaking with The Guardian, Chairman MOMAS Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company Limited (MEMMCOL), Kola Balogun stated that at the onset, drivers of NMMP should not have given the same timeline of delivery to those that are importing the meters and those who are producing it locally.
“The deadline is not a reflection of the reality that we find ourselves in. The reality we find ourselves is that there are lots of manpower deficits in scaling the set target; there are also manpower deficits in the deployment of the meter installation. In our own case, our processes are different from somebody that imports semi-knocked down (SKD) or complete knocked down (CKD) and these are the things that the drivers of the NMMP fail to recognise.
“We are component-based; we build from the scratch in Nigeria. For instance, if there are certain components that we need to procure locally and it is not available, it becomes an issue for consideration and that is why they should match apple with apple.”
He asked that government should visit the facilities of meter providers to have an understanding of how these things work while seeking for the extension of phase zero of the NMMP scheme.
“The timeline should be extended and momentum should be sustained, metering should continue to be sponsored so that we don’t go back to where we are coming from,” Balogun said.
He maintained that locally produced meters could compete favourably with those that are being imported in terms of durability and affordability, adding that the meters were built to address Nigeria’s peculiarity.
“When these meters are produced locally, there will be development, bridging the gap of unemployment, capability building and technology transfer. These are the things that are to be considered. Development requires sacrifice and consistency.
“When we design our products, it helps the nation to be fully independent, this is in the sense that if a nation decides not to sell their products to Nigeria, you are not bothered as you can get such in your country. But if the country doesn’t have its own and still depend on what is being imported, the development will be at a snail speed.
“Also when the meters are produced in Nigeria, you can support the repair, if it damages, it is easier for you to repair it because it’s your design. The after-sale services are very high, unlike the CKD and SKD which are somebody else’s designs.
“The locally built meters are even more tailored towards the country’s peculiarity in terms of the voltage profile. Our meter is rugged and built to withstand all the fluctuation of power and it’s also tamper-proof.”
However, Chairman Protogy services, Ademola Agoro told our reporter that it has delivered all the meters allotted to it. “We have delivered 40,000 meters to IBEDC; 8,000 to Abuja DisCo and 3,000 to Enugu Disco.
Also, integrated resources said it has delivered the meter allotted to it, saying that phase zero should not be extended. “We don’t have any deficit, we even have more meters. We don’t want the government to extend the timeline. We would like to be in the position to move to the next phase.”