November 18, 2021

FG flays dumping of foreign goods ,Okays Production of Smart Meters in Nigeria

FG flays dumping of foreign goods ,Okays Production of Smart Meters in Nigeria

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo 

The Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment has flayed the continued dumping of foreign goods in Nigeria and assured its support to indigenous manufacturers who operate according to standard.

Kasim Mohammed Yahaya, the Kaduna State Coordinator of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON),a parastatal of the Ministry,said in Kaduna on Thursday while presenting the SON Certificate to an indigenous meter manufacturing firm ,Smart Meters Company Ltd Kaduna ,that SON  is all about the quality of services ,process or system made available to Nigerians. 

He prayed for God’s blessings on those who conceptualised the investment and expressed delight over what he saw in the company. 

” For us as you know, we are from the Ministry of Trade and Investment, and we so much take interest in any investment,” he said  

He decried the dumping of foreign goods in the country and prayed for the sustenance of such indigenous manufacturing companies in Nigeria. 

” That’s what will build this country, we cannot deny that fact.The dumping is too much, “he said. 

” When we see institutions like this springing up, we pray for it and we are going to partner very well, to see that it succeed.”

He expressed happiness that all the compliance to the regulatory requirement,Smart Meters Company Ltd has fulfilled. 

He said it is their duty to ensure that manufacturers deliver safe and quantity products to the market.

The Managing Director of Smart Meters Company Ltd  Kaduna,Ibrahim Babagana ,in an interview with journalists, said 

basically, “what we’ve done is to adhere to the standards,every other company similar to ours,also goes through this process. We also went through this process, together with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria ( SON),and they found us worthy of being given this certification which means our meters conform with the Nigerian industrial standards. We are very happy with the development.”

Commening on the staff strength of the company, he said “we have 30 staff as a start up,for now, about 25 of that staff are permanent, 5 are contract staff,based on our plans in terms of expansion, we think we would be able to recruit an additional  250 staff over a period of 12 months. That will depend on the quantity of orders that we get eventually in this country.:

On level of production, he explained that “the current capacity as analysed by us internally, based on the current assembly line,based also,on the test benches we have,we would be able to produce annually, 1.5 million meters.If you want you can translate that to mean,about 6000 meters a day.We have that capacity to produce about 1 5 million meters per annum.”

He observed that although power is a challenge,  “but we have been lucky so far,we have been getting consistent energy from Kaduna Distribution Company. Although we’ve a stand by generator, we hardly make use of it.”

“The issue of sourcing for FOREX is not limited to us.It is a national issue but that does not mean that we should be constrained,because of that not to be creative, not to be innovative. Due to this particular issue, we feel that we as manufacturers should try and make some contribution and assist the government to resolve this particular problem.”

“We want to get involved in backward integration to produce items that can be produced locally. That will also assist in terms of now reducing the requirements of FOREX.We should not look at this as a straight jacket line But it’s something that we can also contribute in resolving the issues.”

On local content input in their production,he said one of the things they are looking at in their production,which they think will assist in cutting down the cost of FOREX ,” is to start producing the meter boxes domestically within the country. “

” We already have a plan in terms of how the factory will look,we have already started engaging with our technical partners in China for the machinery,we have also started exploring domestically, chemical companies …what are these items to be done,so  that by the time we take off,we are sure we are going to succeed .”

“Secondly ,we also think some of the buttons, some of the screws, that all are imported wholesale as CKD or SKD,we can also start reaching out to companies locally in Nigeria, even in Kaduna we have a company NOCACO,who has standards ,whose products have gone all over the West Africa region.We want to also explore such opportunity,so that at least we now substitute items that can be imported so that they can be produced domestically and locally.”

“Our aspiration as a company, is to start by penetrating the Nigerian market. Satisfying the needs and requirements of our customers within the region ,within our territory. That’s our initial aspiration. But simultaneously, we want to also explore the West African market.Incidentally,we’ve a partner that is resident in Ghana. One of our shareholders is a Ghanaian who also has a similar factory in Ghana.”

“So we are primed to now start thinking about penetrating the market…but as they say,you’ve to start crawling before you walk. It’s a gradual process but it’s a plan that we’ve and God willing, we are going to implement it.”

On the problems relating to calibration of meters in Nigeria, he said ” I don’t think calibration is a major issue. I think the issue is that if you want to make sure that you adhere to standards, you should test and calibrate every meter. That’s what we’ve been doing in this factory. As far as we are concerned, even though you can just take a sample and do that, but in order to make sure we don’t have any draw back, in terms of the meters that we assemble in this factory, we have decided as a policy to now test and calibrate every meter.”

“Incidentally,we have supplied to some…in this country  about 24,000 meters. Up to this moment I am talking to you, none of them have come back to say our meters are not functioning. Our meters have been found to be working effectively and efficiently. We decided as a manufacturer to even go a step forward,by now going into the field, asking customers directly, without them knowing, so that we can get a feedback.”

” I am happy to say that so far,so good our meters are of quality, of standard and none have been found failing. We want to assure our customers that, that is going to be our mantra. We believe in quality, we believe in standards,” he said .