With a staggering 43 percent of Nigerians lacking access to grid electricity, Nigeria grapples with a severe energy crisis.
The absence of reliable power poses a significant obstacle to the country, resulting in an estimated annual economic loss of $26.2 billion due to poor electricity access.
To address this issue, the Association of Meter Manufacturers of Nigeria (AMMON) pleads with the government to reconsider its plans to use a $155 million World Bank loan for meter importation.
Instead, AMMON calls for the funds to be directed towards local industries, enabling them to bridge the 10 million meter gap within 18 months. By supporting domestic manufacturers, Nigeria can stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and alleviate the energy access deficit.
Ifeanyi Okeke, the treasurer of AMMON and CEO of Holley Metering Limited, expressed concerns about the proposed tender for bidding, scheduled for July 11. Okeke emphasized that this approach would contradict the government’s local content policy.
Speaking during discussions on the bidding process, Okeke highlighted that although contracts were awarded to 20 out of 40 local meter manufacturing companies in November of the previous year, production has not yet commenced. Despite the challenges, nearly 1 million meters were rolled out between December 2020 and June 2021.
AMMON believes that allocating the World Bank loan to local manufacturers would be more beneficial for the economy, leading to job creation and stimulating economic growth.
Okeke urged the government to halt the tender metering process, which is designed to support local factories and promote value addition. However, conflicting desires between the Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) have complicated the situation.
Engr. Durosola Omogbenigun, the Secretary General of AMMON, warned that proceeding with the bidding process would hinder the progress made in terms of local content policy, backward integration, and technology transfer.
Referring to the signing of Executive Order No. 5 by former President Muhammadu Buhari, Omogbenigun highlighted the importance of prioritizing local products over foreign brands in public organizations.
Omogbenigun emphasized the potential impact of directing the proposed $155 million World Bank loan toward local meter production. This investment would energize the industry, create jobs, generate wealth, and close the 10 million meter gap.
Urgent government intervention is necessary to prevent the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) from proceeding with tender openings. AMMON accused the TCN of failing to fulfill promises of support made to their members, undermining the progress of local manufacturers.
The issue of the energy access deficit in Nigeria requires immediate attention. By improving electricity infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, the country can unlock economic potential, provide essential services, and uplift communities from poverty.
AMMON’s plea for support to local industries aligns to promote and ensure manufacturing and ensuring sustainable economic development.