Investors shut production as KEDCO halt power supply at Kano Free Trade Zone over debt
Investors at the Federal government-owned Kano Free Trade Zone are presently counting losses occasioned by a total power outage in the zone. Some factories have already shut down operations due to the high cost of fueling generator to power their businesses, The Guardian learnt.
It was gathered that Kano Electricity Distribution Company KEDCO cut off the power supply in an industrial area a week ago leaving manufacturers to running 24 hours production under gas-powered engines.
The manufacturers operating in the vast industrial property under the management of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), are presently lamented untold hardship and difficulties in sustaining businesses in uncertain economic situation. Others who are still running the huge cost of fueling their power supply is contemplating shutting down in a few days if the situation persists.
The operators, who accused the management of the zone of failure to settle the energy bill having paid their dues, wondered why NEPZA under the Federal Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry would subject local manufacturers to pains under its ease of doing business policy.
The Guardian learned that NEPZA is indebted to the power distribution company, the bill running into millions of naira, a development which compelled the disconnection of the zone from the power grid in the eight days.
“I am surprised the Federal government will allow this development to continue this way in the last five days after several pledges to ease means of doing business in the zone,” a business owner who pleaded anonymity told The Guardian.
“You can imagine in the last five days we have been running on a generator and you know how difficult the economy is. We want to appeal to concerned authorities to do something urgently. No business can sustain under this condition.”
Another investor told our correspondent that he is considering shutting down production in the next two days if the management refuses to settle the electricity bill. He worries that fuel consumption at this period of the economy was not sustainable.
He said investors did not serve total blackout for any reason having paid their consumption fee to the Federal government.
Kano zone of NEPZA declined to speak to journalists at the time of this report but a source told our correspondent that the management was not owing KEDCO.
The source, who debunked the position of the investors, claimed that the power outage was only temporary due to a technical fault that would soon be rectified. Incidentally, NEPZA also runs on a generator set to power energy supply as at the time of visit.
The Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry, Richard Adeniyi Adebayo on a recent visit to the Kano zone disclosed that the provision for independent power supply to the zone has been awarded.
The minister assured that difficulties being experienced by investors as a result of inadequate power supply from the distribution company will be a thing of the past as soon as the Federal Government power project is completed.