By Sebastine Obasi
The Electricity Meter Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, EMMAN, has appealed to the Federal Government to review its levies on imported electricity meters, to promote full local content in the production of pre-paid meters.
The appeal is coming on the heels of President Muhamadu Buhari’s approval of one-year deferment of the 35 per cent import adjustment tax (levy) imposed on fully built unit (FBU) electricity meters HS Code 9028.30.00.00 under the 2019 fiscal policy measures for the implementation of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, common external tariff (CET) 2017 – 2022.
EMMAN believes the approval is an incentive for mass importation of pre-paid meters, as against upscaling of local production.
It noted that it takes an average of three months to set-up Semi Knock Downm SKD/Complete Knock Down, CKD, factory, while advising that importers should be encouraged to set-up factories, so as to create a value chain that would provide employment opportunities for Nigerians.
Speaking as a member of the Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEM, in the downstream of the power sector, Kola Balogun, Chairman of Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Limited, said the removal is an indication that the government is more disposed to favour importation, to the detriment of local production.
He said: “The implication of this is that over 600 million US dollars would be exported to China to import the approved three million meters. This means we would further be developing another country’s economy, while unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment continue to rise in our country.
“We are bold to emphatically say that we at Momas have the local capability to bridge the metering gap, if the right policy is put in place.
“This can be by way of financial intervention by the government, whereby certain agreed percentage of the cost of meter supply would be advanced to us, like the importers do with the Chinese and, upon completion of installation, balance payment would be made to us. We do not even mind to furnish a bank guarantee as our own commitment in such deal.”
Also speaking on the issue, Mr Kunle Olubiyo, President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, also said that there is an urgent need for the Federal Government of to put in place a strict regime of sanctions against off-takers who have deliberately refused to accept indigenous technology and made in Nigeria pre-paid meters.
According to him, metering devices in the electricity sector provides the end-users, market players, participants and regulatory agencies a spectrum of energy, accountability, efficient conservation and probity.
“As important as the vexed issue of metering is, there are other variables and extraneous factors that if not eradicated or boldly addressed once and for all, Nigerian electricity market shall remain an elusive growth and a vicious circle of stagnation.
“As a matter of fact, what we need now is a review downward of the presently discriminatory pricing of gas pricing methodology and disparity in the gas pricing business model with different pricing options for different Off-takers.
“Electricity consumers are increasingly being made to pay for fixed cost, padded cost, over-bloated indexes of hyper-inflated cost of production of each Unit of electricity measured in kilowatt-hour etc,” Olubiyo added.