Local electricity metre manufacturing and assembling firms may face tough times in the days ahead as the Federal Government has opened a bid for a $155 million World Bank loan to import metres.
Anxious of the negative impact of the Federal Government’s decision on its business, the Association of Metre Manufacturers and Assemblers Nigeria (AMMON) has petitioned the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) alleging that the move might cripple over $500 million investments in the sector.
The group, in a petition by its acting President, Ademola Agoro and the Secretary, Durosola Omogbenigun, urged the Bureau and the government to save the local metering sector from total collapse, save investments and jobs of Nigerians.
In the petition obtained by The Guardian, AMMON stated: “The tender which closes on July 11, 2023, if left to continue, would amount to a constructive breach of the award of contract(s) for the supply of four million metres under the Phase One of the programme already awarded to some of our members since November 2022 by Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), a bid process that BPP approved.
“You (BPP) may note that the TCN recently advertised a World Bank funded bid process for the supply of 1.2 million smart metres to DisCos in Nigeria. That your office be aware that this particular bid process is being opened to foreign companies (manufacturers, suppliers and exporters) of fully built electricity metres with planned Custom duty waiver granted to them to import metres into Nigeria.
“These importers, who are primarily foreigners, have not made a verifiable investment in the backward integration programme of the FG, nor have they made any investment in local manufacturing and assembling of metres in Nigeria, which has always been the standard requirements for Metre Assets Providers (MAP) in Nigeria to show proof of investments in the backwards integration and must have metre assembling/manufacturing plants and factories in Nigeria.”
Appreciating the good intentions of TCN and NERC to achieve the mass metering of Nigerians and bridge the metering gap in the sector towards solving the nation’s electricity problems, AMMON stated that such good intention should be executed taking into consideration the sanctity of contracts the present economic state of Nigeria, which does not support import of fully-manufactured products.
AMMON expressed worry that the proposed bid process would lead to a disastrous outcome for local metre manufacturing/assembling companies who have invested over $500 million in the industry.
It noted that the industry, which currently employs over 10,000 Nigerians in direct employment and more than 30,000 Nigerians in indirect labour, with competitive wages, is comparable to the communications sector.
The group, however, urged the government to direct the immediate suspension of the TCN bid process for Phase 2 funded by World Bank pending proper consultation with stakeholders in the power sector, especially metre manufacturers, to address members’ concerns.
It also enjoined the BPP to direct the TCN, NERC and CBN to honour the contract for the supply of four million metres awarded to local metre manufacturers in Phase 1 of the Mass Metering Programme.