Nigeria: Electricity distributors seek FG’s Intervention on high Import duty for Meters

Africa Link Special Reports

WorldStage Newsonline – The Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) have urged the Federal Government to intervene in the heavy import duties they used to pay for imported meters.

Mr Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) in a statement on Friday said that such an intervention would help to mitigate delays they usually encountered when clearing meters at the ports. He added that it would also enable the DISCOs to quickly install meters for their electricity customers.

The DISCOs decried the high import duty and other hurdles, saying that the challenges had been slowing down their metering targets as  advanced by the Meter Asset Providers (MAP) regulation.

Oduntan said  that some of the meter providers have the capacity to install about 3,000 meters per day for DISCOs if they were available.

He said, “There should be zero per cent import duty on meters.

“We must assist local meter manufacturers to bring in components duty-free until Ajaokuta is ready.”

He said that the high import duty at the ports was killing the power sector, adding that when customers are metered, they would be happy because estimated billing is not good for them and the DISCOs.

“While those importing meters are finding it hard because of the import duty, the local meter manufacturers are also finding it difficult to continue production.

“This is because they have to pay import duties on at least seven different components which they import for use in producing the meters in Nigeria.

“These are separate companies but DISCOs support Meter Assets Providers (MAPs) and we want them to succeed,” Oduntan said.

Oduntan said that  with the current import duty and other challenges befalling the implementation of MAPs, the NERC order that DISCOs must  meter all electricity consumers by 2021 might not be realistic.

“There is an urgent need for government to intervene so that there will be more meters available to be installed,” he said.

Oduntan said that the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) recently confirmed that out of 1.023 million meters expected for testing in the first phase of MAPs scheme which began in May 2019,NEMSA had tested and certified only 273,000 meters.

He said that this was due to the hiccups the MAP firms were facing in the importation of meters.