The Senate has advocated protection for local metre manufacturers following the approved US$155 Million World Bank loan for the National Mass Metering Programme, NMMP of the federal government.
This is one of the prayers of a motion by Senator Victor Umeh representing Anambra Central during plenary in Abuja
Presenting the motion, Senator Umeh, noted that it is the duty of industry procurement regulators in every developing economy to protect the local manufacturers “and will only try to augment importation of goods and services where there is a clear-cut gap between local production and consumption.”
He said Members of Association of Meter Manufacturers of Nigeria, AMMON, are capable of producing world standard smart electricity meters, hence the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC under Phase 1 of the Mass Metering Programme of federal government, issued the association, after a competitive bidding process a ‘Letter of No aObjection’ to award four million meters in 2022.
The lawmaker explained that the Central Bank of Nigeria, also in 2020 undertook to fund the National Mass Metering Programme, NMMP Phase 1, but after eight months of awards to local manufacturers, withdrew funding which affected the workability of the programme.”
Senator Umeh also revealed that the World Bank has approved US$155 Million loan for the National Mass Metering Programme.
He was, however, worried that the ongoing World Bank funded NMMP Phase 2 seeks to promote foreign companies participation against competent and pre-qualified local meter manufacturers which would ultimately result in loss of jobs and revenue, adding that “a deliberate policy to prioritize local manufacturing would catalyse job creation and economic growth.
The lawmaker told his colleagues that the TCN, on behalf of the World Bank, closed bidding advertisement on July 11, 2023 and further extended it to July 25, 2023 for the supply and installation of 1.2 million smart meters to the 11 distribution companies in the country.
He said the bidding criteria, which could only be satisfied by foreign companies, have totally marginalized and eliminated the participation of the 35 local meter manufacturers,adding that if allowed to continue would be disastrous to AMMON members, who have invested billions of naira in the sector and currently employs 10,000 direct workers and over 30,000 indirect workers.
James Itodo, Edited By Shakirat Alabi
Written by: Bukky Alabi
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