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Senate to TCN: Suspend bidding for World Bank’s $155m mass metering scheme

The Senate on Thursday asked the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to immediately suspend the bidding for a World Bank-funded mass...

The Senate on Thursday asked the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to immediately suspend the bidding for a World Bank-funded mass metering scheme in Nigeria. 

The federal government’s National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) Phase 2 aims to supply 1.2 million smart meters to the 11 distribution companies in Nigeria with a $155 million loan from the World Bank.  

The Red Chamber, following a motion by Senator Victor Umeh (Anambra Central), asked the federal government to halt tender for the meter supply, saying the procurement criteria were skewed against local manufacturers.

It said the suspension of the tender was necessary for the government to undertake a comprehensive review of the procurement criteria to prioritise local manufacturing and assembling in line with Local Content and Backward Integration Policy.

The Senate also urged the TCN and other stakeholders to negotiate and engage the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) for an alternative loan if the World Bank loan conditions did not favour local economic growth.

Umeh, in his motion, claimed the conditions attached to the World Bank loan were designed to promote the participation of foreign companies against competent and prequalified local meter manufacturers.

This, he said, would ultimately result in the loss of jobs and revenue.

He said the bidding criteria put in place, which can only be satisfied by foreign companies, marginalised and eliminated the participation of the 35 local meter manufacturers who have 10,000 workers directly and more than 30,000 workers indirectly in their employ. 

Besides, he said the situation would lead to a loss of revenue to the nation by granting the foreign companies an additional concession of a custom duty waiver of 45%. 

Senators, who contributed to the motion, urged the federal government to approach other lenders with flexible bidding criteria. 

“The country’s manufacturing sector is not in the best shape. The Senate should do everything possible to support the metering industry. It is when the industry booms that the unemployment will be addressed and the economy rejuvenated,” said Senator Aminu Tambuwal (PDP, Sokoto).

 

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