Senate Committee on Power yesterday, flayed Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) over poor distribution of meters to consumers despite the release of N33bn to local manufacturers.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Gabriel Suswam, spoke when his panel visited the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) on oversight functions.
He about N59bn was earmarked by the Central Bank of Nigeria for federal government’s mass metering programme.
He said despite the release of N33bn as financing support to local manufacturers, deployment of meters to consumers had been very poor.
He said: “Those who wants to produce meter has money sitting at the CBN which they will take at single digit interest rate percentage. Quite a number of them had been identified and they have started producing meters even in Abuja here.”
“About N59bn was set aside by the CBN but the sum of N33bn has been disbursed already and some meters have been produced even though the deployment has been very poor but that is ongoing.”
The lawmaker, however, justified importation of meters despite the federal government’s support to local producers.
He said Nigeria could not wait for all the certified local manufacturers to start producing meters, hence the Discos were permitted to import for the purpose of mass metering and to achieve the threshold.
He said, “There’s no way we could wait till those people (local manufacturers) set up factories before we start deploying meters. So, we’re importing meters now.”
Managing Director, NEMSA, Peter Ewesor, said those who had been importing meters from had to establish factories in Nigeria.
“We’ve actually certified well over 15 companies in the last nine months because they know that if they’re not producing meters in Nigeria, they’ll not have access to the facilities that the government is providing through the CBN.”