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Imported Meters Destroying Local Factory Sustainability - MANUFACTURER

An indigenous meter manufacturer, Kola Balogun, Chairman, Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company Ltd., (MEMMCOL), says importation of meter  is destroying local factory sustainability in Nigeria.

Balogun said this in an interactive session with newsmen on Sunday (today), while he decried the slow pace  of meter installation by the Meter Assets Providers (MAPs).

According to him, the government has mandated that only 70 per cent of meters required are expected to be imported while 30 percent are to be locally produced but the MAP licensee have  refused to exploit the 30 per cent local patronage.

“However, through patronage, we can help create jobs and contribute to our national, knowledge transfer, research and development can enable Nigeria become an innovation hub, such that we will be able to supply Nigerian made meters to the rest of Africa and the world.

``With this situation, what we are asking is that the policy be reversed as this will enable other local manufacturers produce and create employment while encouraging foreign investors invest in the country directly instead of dumping foreign made meters into the Nigeria market.

``By so doing, we will  be developing local capacity and creating enough jobs that will contribute greatly to our economy,“ he said.

Balogun explained that the  local meter manufacturers have the capacity to exceed the 30 per cent local content inputs and urged the regulator to compel MAP licensee to patronise indigenous manufacturers before importing.

``As we speak, l have over 20, 000 meters manufactured in my factory which is over N 5 million, but  no patronage from the MAP providers.

“Government should encourage local meter manufacturers who can add growth and development in the country, because enabling meter manufacturers will have a reverberation effect on the country.

``As it would not only address the metering gap but also play a determining role in solving the electricity crisis the country is experiencing.

``Our expectation is that the regulator will also have a yardstick to measure the local content to ensure that capacity, skills and jobs are created in-country," he stated.

He suggested that government should ensure MAP licensees respect the sanity of local content, adding that given priority to imported meters posed serious challenge to local manufacturer which need urgent attention. 

Balogun, however, said that the Federal Government should be applauded for increasing the import duty on imported meters for local factories to grow, adding that the effect of closing the border is yielding good results in the country.

According to him, the closure of the border has increased the production of rice farmers; this is the same thing we need in the power sector.

Balogun posited that the preference for importation of goods and services is still very much prevalent in Nigeria, despite the push by the Federal Government for its citizens to purchase made in Nigeria products.

He noted that the danger in importation was that foreign reserves would be depleted and the economy of manufacturing countries would improve through massive job creation to our detriment.

``We need to take a bold step to show that tariff on imported meter should remain increased as imported meter into the country has rendered local meters factories useless," Balogun maintained.

The MEMMCOL boss said that majority of MAPs rely on imported meters because they do not manufacture same, and have in a bid to make more money resorted to importation rather than patronise local producers.

He commended government's commitment toward promoting local content and expressed the company’s desire to work closely with government to find lasting solutions to the metering gap and lack of steady power supply in the country.

Balogun posited that the MEMMCOL factory is capable of producing electricity meters from start to finish, adding that the factory has provided adequate proof that local companies can produce meters that can meet global standard which could consequently help in reversing government policy on local meter manufacturing.

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