Meter manufacturers seek intervention to scale up production
With claims that the local meter manufacturing industry has seen an increase from 13 to 43 companies, with a commensurate escalation in manufacturing capacity officially assessed at 4.9 million meters per year, Meter Manufacturers and Assemblers Association of Nigeria (MMAAN) have urged the government to increase intervention in the sector to enhance production.
MMAAN also appealed to the Federal Government to issue an official Letter of Clearance to their members that were cleared from the alleged diversion of power sector intervention funds meant for the procurement of prepaid electricity meters under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
The group appealed in a statement that was jointly signed by its Acting President, Ademola Agoro and the Secretary, Duro Omogbenigun.
The meter manufacturers also commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for funding and effectively regulating the mass metering programme.
The CBN had in July 2022, through an order of the Federal High Court, Lokoja, Kogi State, requested commercial banks to freeze 157 accounts belonging to 10 Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) for allegedly diverting power sector intervention funds meant for the procurement of prepaid meters under the NMMP.
The apex bank had also later in August of the same year, confirmed unfreezing the bank accounts of the affected companies after an investigation into the matter was concluded.
It stated sadly, the NMMP Phase 1 has been put on hold by the CBN, which it said effectively threatens the survival of local meter manufacturers, with myriads of potential job loss.
The statement added: “On the same hand, while the Nigerian economy benefits from tax payments and customs duty remitted by our companies to the government, this emerging industry is also actively involved in technology transfer and after-sales services which strengthen the intellectual fabric of the country’s evolving engineering expertise and empower the artisanal layer of the informal sector.
The meter manufacturers stated that they had surpassed the expectation of the federal government in closing the metering gap in the country and creating a huge number of jobs along the value chain.
The group, however, said it was, “therefore against this backdrop of enormous national value, that we express shock at seeing our association unjustifiably linked in some media reports to alleged corruption and weak regulation in the nation’s power sector.”
The statement added, “The specific case mentioned is where the CBN, in July 2022, froze some Meter Asset Providers’ bank accounts (some local meter manufacturers inclusive) but later unfroze them after investigations.
“We hereby note that since the CBN and relevant government agencies have concluded their work, it would be to issue an official (letter of) clearance to the affected local meter manufacturers, to adequately update the esteemed media and the general public.
“We hereby thank the federal government and its agencies, especially the CBN, for financing the NMMP and the NERC for patriotic and efficient regulation.”
Expressing excitement over the federal government’s inclusion of the humble efforts of local meter manufacturers to nation-building and economic development, in its recently released report card titled, “Buhari’s Footprints on the Sands of Time,” the body stated that the nationwide rollout of electricity meters under the NMMP generated 10,000 new jobs in meter installation and assembly.
It said the figure released by the government only scratches the surface of their contributions so far, saying they first provided one million quality meters in the first phase of the programme otherwise, referred to as phase zero.
The association maintained, “official estimates put multiplier effects to have reached at least 3000 persons per factory; thus, about 50,000 jobs were created for support services personnel, meter installers and after-sales service providers nationwide.