26 February 2013

Nigeria: Meter Manufacturer Seeks Nigerian Content in Power Sector

An indigenous manufacturer of Electricity Meter and Chairman of MOMAS Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company (MEMMCOL), Mr. Kola Balogun, has called on the Federal Government to introduce Nigerian content policy in the power sector to encourage local production of electricity meters.

Speaking to journalists at the weekend in Lagos, Balogun noted that the current situation where most of the meter components like plastic valves were still being imported was worrisome and called on the government to take conscious steps to discourage it.

He also charged the government to create local content department in the ministries and parastatals like in the oil sector to enhance capacity building and jobs creation for Nigerian youths.

Balogun stated that the company commenced production of pre-paid meters in October 2012 but shut down in November due to government's pronouncement of free pre-paid meters to Nigerians.

He stated that local production of meters would stop influx of expatriates to compete with the Nigerian youths.

"The Federal Government should ensure that any product imported into the country must be local content-driven and spread it to ministries like aviation, power and transport. Government should start creating a platform to ensure that meter components can be done here, even, if we cannot manufacture the whole equipment here. I urge the Federal Government to allow the local content development to be a signature in all the sectors to open up employment and growth. Once there is a policy enhancing local production, it will promote growth and better opportunity for Nigerians," he said.

Balogun acknowledged that government had recorded appreciable progress in the area of local fabrication in the oil and gas sector, adding that similar growth would be achieved in the manufacturing sector.

He also disclosed that the inability of local manufacturers to access funds posed a serious challenge and threats to the local manufacturing prospect, and urged the Federal Government to give financial support to local manufacturers of electricity meters.

Balogun said such support would enhance the growth of the small and medium scale entrepreneurs.

He said that with the support of the Bank of Industry (BoI) his company had invested over N 3 billion on meter manufacturing equipment, so as to enhance local production of various types of meters and electrical components.

Balogun appealed to the government to support the local manufacturers of meters in the country to improve on their production quality.

"I feel it important that Nigeria should stop importing electricity meters so that we can migrate from importing meters to manufacturing of meters of various types in Nigeria. In MEMMOL alone, we have a production capacity of 50,000 to 100,000 meters monthly, not to now talk of the productions of other companies in same business," he said.

He said that apart from inability to access funds from government to finance the business, inadequate electricity supply had also contributed negatively to the local production.

"Electricity is a major set-back in our company, since the factory was inaugurated; public electricity supply has not been given made to the factory. We are basically running on generator, this one of the major complaint of some of our partners over the years, because our equipment is very sensitive machine that required uninterrupted supply," he added.

He however, lauded government effort in improving the power supply across the country, while urging government to extends its network to its factory.

"Our company is planning to commence full production because of the reversal on the government pronouncement and hopefully, there will be a huge demand for meters," he added.

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