Federal Government has directed all the electricity distribution companies in the country to patronize local manufacturers in line with the policies put in place by government, designed to ensure the accelerated development of the industrial sector.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment dropped the hint at the one day stakeholders’ forum on metre/transformer manufacturing in Nigeria organised by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in collaboration with Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) at its conference room in Abuja
In his address read by the Director Industrial Development and Inspectorate, Engr. (Mrs.) Awobokun Omotanwa, the Minister said that his Ministry has received series of complaints on non-patronage and the influx of meters and transformers into the country by local manufacturers of these items
He said the purpose of the meeting was to bring together Stakeholders to deliberate on the challenges confronting the sub-sector and to come up with ideas and workable plans for the formulation of appropriate strategies and policies to support the sector.
In his words, “the misconception by Nigerians, that locally made products are of sub standard even when it is obvious that imported ones are inferior needs to be addressed using procurement regime as a tool to develop local patronage. Let us collectively ensure that we use local patronage as anchor to improve standards of Nigerian goods and services”
He added that for Nigerian Industry to thrive, we need to support a strong and growing local demand. It is essential to know that our local market provides a strong base, from which Nigerian products can refine their standards, build a strong base, and then subsequently proceed into the global export markets. Aganga stressed.
The Minister commended the efforts of the local manufacturers for their commitment and resilience. He urged them not to relent in producing quality products as government is all out to provide extensive infrastructure to ameliorate their challenges.
He also commended NERC and other stakeholders for their support and understanding in organising the meeting to initiate sustainable strategies and policies to address the challenges confronting the meter and Transformer manufacturers in the country, adding that both the manufacturers and the Distribution companies will collaborate with each other to strive to make meter/transformer subsector a prosperous industry in the Country.
The Secretary, Electricity Meters Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (EMMAN), Mr. Muideen Adebayo stated that their members out of sheer patriotism and numerous challenges confronting manufacturers had undertaken undaunted risk with borrowed funds on high interest rate to established world class factories adding that local manufacturers has production capacity of 1.2 million meters per annum with room for future expansion.
He urged government to create and make available at two per cent special intervention fund in form of soft loans to the local electricity meter manufacturers in order to create more jobs for Nigerians, boost the annual revenue earnings of Nigeria and curb capital flight to their counterparts from China.
In his contribution, the Managing Director Elsewedy Electric, Raed Hassaniel solicited the support of the federal government in ensuring that their businesses survive extremely harsh conditions by enacting protectionist law.
“Every year, Nigeria import in excess of 10,000 transformers from different countries yet, the manufacturers of transformers in Nigeria are struggling to survive. Energy meters are also skewed in favour of foreign companies despite the fact that there are capable manufacturers in the country”.
Earlier, the Commissioner, Engineering Safety & Standards, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, Engr. Mary Emiola Awolokun solicited cooperation of all stakeholders in the development of the energy sector adding that her organization would continue to encourage Disco to patronise local manufacturers of energy meters and transformers.