19 May 2015, Lagos – Against the spirit of local content initiative, Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) have denied indigenous pre-paid meter manufacturers patronage. Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa at the workshop for Business Editors and Industry Correspondents in Lagos yesterday titled, ‘BoI impacting on the Nigerian Industrial Sector’, lamented on the quantum of denial by disco companies to patronize locally made prepaid meters, which he affirmed are of international standard.
Olaoluwa said out of the 11 disco companies in the country, only six of them patronize indigenous prepaid meters manufacturers, adding that disco companies prefer to import prepaid meters. “Nigerian companies have invested heavily in the local production of prepaid meters and they produce very good quality meters. It is in our national interest that those companies are patronized by our disco companies so that they can also grow and add value to economic development of this country”
“Luckily, six discos are presently patronizing local manufacturers of prepaid meters but we need all of them to do so.” Though, the BoI boss said that he would not encourage or support the companies to patronise manufacturers that produce substandard products but for those companies which have maintained good quality that can stand the test of quality in the international market, deserved to be patronized.
He stated, “We are not advocating patronage of substandard meters, the locally manufactured prepaid meters have been certified as top quality and international standards and there is no reason why we should continue to import meters.” He emphasized, “I want to be very clear that am not saying Disco companies should patronise local manufacturers that produce trash but they should encourage those that produce good quality meters. We have local manufacturers that produce to international standard and they should be patronized.”
Commenting on the connection of the bank to the indigenous manufacturers, Olaoluwa explained that the bank gave the producers long term loans which they have justified in their products. “We supported the local manufacturers of prepaid meters with long term loans. If they do not get the required patronage how would they grow? They need to pay the loans and also create Jobs”.
He, however, declined to disclose the amount of loan given to the producers but regretted that Nigerians complain of no jobs and about economic issues yet they are not encouraging those that have helped to create employment in the country. He added that the country might continue to go in circles if Nigerians did not encourage local producers, “If we do not patronise local manufacturers, we will not make progress.”
“Those indigenous companies have invested to produce here in the country and if they are not encouraged, they cannot sell and they will be forced to lay off staff and go bankrupt.” He believed that the meters should be purchased locally in the spirit of the local content initiative.