The Motion Sponsor, Senator Victor Umeh opined that the World Bank-funded NMMP Phase 2 appears to favour foreign companies’ participation, which inadvertently leads to job and revenue losses for local manufacturers.
The Senate has appealed to the Federal Government to immediately suspend the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) Tender for Phase 2 of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) being funded by the World Bank.
This resolution was reached following the consideration of a motion titled ‘Urgent Need to Protect Local Meter Manufacturers in the ongoing National Mass Metering Programme of the Federal Government’ sponsored by Senator Victor Umeh (LP, Anambra Central).
This, it said is primarily to allow for the conduct of a comprehensive review of the procurement criteria with a focus on prioritising the local manufacturing and assembly of prepaid meters. It added that this move aligns with the Local Content and Backward Integration Policy aimed at boosting local capacity building, create employment opportunities, and drive economic growth within Nigeria.
The Senate thus urged the TCN and other relevant stakeholders to explore negotiations with the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) and the African Development Bank (AFDB) for alternative loans if, the terms of the World Bank loan do not favour local economic growth. This it noted was important especially during a time of substantial unemployment and currency devaluation.
Furthermore, the lawmakers encouraged the TCN to access intervention funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) which it says will promote self-reliance and reduce reliance on foreign loans.
Senator Umeh emphasised that the role of industry procurement regulators in developing economies should primarily be to protect local manufacturers, resorting to importing goods and services only when a clear gap exists between local production and demand.
He highlighted that the Association of Meter Manufacturers of Nigeria (AMMON) has the capability to produce world-class smart meters, as evidenced by the previous award of four million meters under Phase 1 of the Mass Metering Programme.
The Senator expressed concern over the World Bank-funded NMMP Phase 2, which seems to favor foreign companies’ participation, potentially leading to job and revenue losses for local manufacturers.
They stressed the need for a deliberate policy that prioritizes local manufacturing to stimulate job creation and economic growth in Nigeria.
The Bidding Criteria set by the TCN for Phase 2 was also criticized for marginalizing and excluding the participation of 35 local meter manufacturers while favoring foreign companies through additional concessions, such as a 45% customs duty waiver. This approach could have devastating consequences for the local industry, which has already invested significant resources and provides direct and indirect employment to thousands of workers.