Electricity consumers, hoping to have pre-paid meters for their homes and offices may have to wait longer. Reason; meter manufacturers are yet to source $400 million (about N1.26 billion) to continue with the production and distribution of the product.
Full privatisation of the power sector in November 2013 saw the emergence of firms collaborating with power generation and distributing companies to replace all analogue meters then in use in Nigeria.
In five years an estimated 6.56 million meters, various phases was promised, with local manufacturers to supply more than 70 percent of the number.
Other challenges have made it possible for them to have delivered about 150,000 in the past two years.
But with the scarcity of dollars and high interest rate from 12 to 14 per cent, the firms have said they may not meet half of the target.
In a meeting, between the manufacturers and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, last week, they were said to have raised doubts over their ability to continue with the project, unless similar concession given to some sectors over dollar rate could be extended to them.
Chantelle Abdul, Chief Executive Officer of Mojec International Limited, one of the manufacturing outfits put it thus: “The critical issue at the moment is lack of access to foreign exchange. A lot of our manufacturing inputs, including chips, batteries and other components are imported.”
According to her, a ways out is to have the cost of the meter doubled from its present price, but expressed the fear of possible objection by the consumers on that.
Already a meter costs between N40, 000 and N65, 000, depending on its capacity, a further increase in price will mean abandoning the idea of having, at least, 80 per cent of the electricity consumers metered in five years.
As of March 2016, the Discos had collectively metered less than 10 per cent of the customers that they inherited from the defunct Power Holding Company, put at about 50 million, currently.
The Executive Secretary, Electricity Meter Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Muyideen Ibrahim, disclosed that over N50 billion worth of investment to boost the meter project cannot be funded, due mainly to paucity of dollars.
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