The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), African Development Bank (AfDB) and other financial institutions have been advised to work towards the implementation of the new metering introduced by the Federal Government in April, last year.
In an interview, the Managing Director, Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company Limited, Mr Kola Balogun, said the metering arrangement, which gave the meter asset providers (MAPs) the nod to supply meters to Nigerians and further reduce the metering gap of 4.1 million customers, needs funding from major financial institutions for growth.
Balogun said the new regulation allows operators invest in metering for between 10 and 15 years, adding that meeting that goals requires support from bigger lenders. He said bigger banks need to come into investment profile to guarantee long-term stability of the scheme.
Balogun said: “The most important thing is that the country must have sufficient headroom in terms of asset base or credit worthiness of each of the operators that apply as MAP, adding that by so doing, they would enjoy long-term credit line from CBN and other front line financial institutions.”
He, however, did not envisage problems in the new metering programme, when its start fully in the year, adding that rather than causing problem, it would add value to the industry.
Balogun said: “As for the danger of the scheme, Nigerians should get to the river first and thereafter would know how to cross it. We need to allow the scheme start first before we think or look at its problems. But to me, the MAP policy comes with a lot of benefits. Consumers can as well pay for the prepaid meter willingly and can as well opt not to pay but spread the payment over a period of time.
On the government’s commitment, he said the administration, especially the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola, has brought in a lot of changes in the sector’s value chain by introducing and developing the new metering plan.
According to him, the government has opened up new business opportunities for people, through the scheme, adding that the sector has made it possible to introduce what he described as new buyer new seller initiative.
He said the country is improving as it allows private investors to generate and distribute electricity to some clusters areas. He said the arguments in some quarters that indigenous meter manufacturers do not have the required capacity to produce prepaid meters is not tenable, stressing that they have been meeting the needs of the power distribution companies (DisCos) in that regard.
He said indigenous meter manufacturers need 100 per cent funding in order to effectively perform like their counterparts abroad. Indigenous meter manufacturers, he said, are not importing meter parts and subsequently assembling them together but rather they provide the meter components on their own.
Authored By: Akinola Ajibade