By Udeme Akpan
THE Meters Assets Providers, MAPs, Tuesday, petitioned the Federal Government, over fixed meter pricing, unavailability of foreign exchange, and Customs clearing bottlenecks, as major challenges hindering efforts, targeted at closing the nation’s metering gap.
They also noted the disruptions in the global supply chain resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with an attendant increase in international prices of raw materials and components required in the manufacture and assembly of prepaid meters as the major constraints affecting the realization of set targets.
In a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting, June 17, 2021, obtained by Energy Vanguard, MAPs, stated: “An upward review of the current price of prepaid meter by NERC in view of rising inflation, continued upward movement of foreign exchange rates, associated increases in customs costs, increase in container freight costs, and the disruptions in the international supply chain, leading to a global increase in the prices of raw materials and components for the manufacture of prepaid meters. MAPs, however, note that there will be a corresponding downward review of meter prices when there is a downward movement in foreign exchange rates and other cost factors.”
‘’The CBN should guarantee access to foreign exchange to Local Meter Manufacturers and Assemblers for the procurement of parts and accessories (Completely Knocked Down (CKD) or Semi Knocked Down (SKD) parts) including equipment for meter manufacturing/production as well as expansion of factory infrastructure.”
“The Nigerian Customs Services (Customs) should be encouraged to create dedicated desks/teams at the various ports to fast track the clearing of prepaid meters and components from the ports to improve on delivery timelines. Further, it is crucial that the Federal Min of Finance and Customs harmonize and provide clarity on HS codes for uniform assessment as relates to meters, meters parts, components, and accessories.”
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MAPs, who were represented by MEMMCOL, MOJEC International Limited, Protogy Global Services Limited, UNISTAR Hi-Tech Limited, Integrated Resources Limited, Conlog Metering Nigeria Limited, New Hampshire Capital Limited, Holley Metering Limited, Tinuten Nigeria Limited, Gospell Digital Technology Limited, Integrated Power Limited, Cresthill Engineering Limited, Turbo Engineering Limited, Bendoriks International, and CWG Plc, also stated: “Change in the modalities for the implementation of the presidential waiver of the 35 per cent levy on fully built prepaid meters and extension up to December 2022. The list of all NERC approved MAPs benefitting from the levy waiver should be made available by NERC/FMF to the Customs to circulate to their commands, thus removing the requirement from MAPs to individually apply to NERC each time. The timeframe for presidential waiver should be further extended to December 2022.
“The MAP scheme is critical to the closing of the metering gap and should operate alongside the implementation of the NMMP. MAPs are crucial to the attainment of the mass metering roll-out having invested, built, and trained critical manpower and logistics for installation and management of prepaid meters.
“Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) should drive a review of material requirements for the production of meter and metering components and accessories such as meter boxes, relays, etc. This will facilitate the utilization of available local materials to increase local input in the deployment of meters and reduce foreign currency requirements.
“That NERC should urgently convene a roundtable meeting of all stakeholders in the metering sector consisting of the Federal Ministry of Power, Office of the Vice President, CBN, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Customs, NEMSA, DisCos, and MAP/Meter Manufacturers & Assemblers to engage on the key issues and above recommendations.”
They added: “The power sector suffers from a huge metering gap; closing the metering gap will improve revenue collection, transparency, and payment discipline, and improve customer satisfaction in the power industry.
“MAPs acknowledge and commend the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for the various interventions to close the metering gap such as the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulations and the implementation of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP). Furthermore, MAPs appreciate the intervention efforts of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN), the Federal Ministry of Power, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and the coordination activities of the Office of the Vice President for their roles in moving the metering sector forward.”
However, in an interview with Energy Vanguard, the Chief Executive Officer, Integrated Resources Limited, Engr Durosola Omogbenigun, said: “MAP and NMMP, have come a long way because of many stakeholders, especially, CBN, Office of the Vice President, NERC and the various DisCos.”
“Indeed, we are grateful to the CBN for funding NMMP, Office of the Vice President for its coordination efforts, NERC for believing in the coexistence of MAP and NMMP and the DisCos for patronage, while expecting the tackling of the various issues and problems.”