Patronise local metre manufacturers to ease pressure on Naira, says Minister of Power

Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu has said that patronising local metre manufacturers in Nigeria to ease the pressure on local currency, expressing satisfaction at what he saw at Protogy Global Services, a company that produces local metre.

The Minister who recently visited his host,  Chairman and Managing Director of Protogy Global Services, Ademola Agoro, in his metre manufacturing factory in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, said, “I’m quite impressed with the standard of facilities and the sophistication they employ in the assembly process of the metres, and I’ve made it known to them that the government is ready to support local metre manufacturers.

“First of all, by providing a conducive environment for their operations in order to be competitive with their foreign counterparts; secondly, by ensuring they have access to foreign exchange as much as possible to aid the in the importation of CKD or the SKD they use in the metre assembly; and also to be able to buy spare parts and tools that are useful in the assembly plants.

“The government should also be able to provide low-interest-rate loans from banks to aid their production because this kind of manufacturing requires huge funds, and a lot of them can provide equity capital for them to survive. They will also need some debt capital, so there must be access to low-interest-rate loans.” Adelabu said.

While noting that the local manufacturers remain the key pillars and risk takers who have kept the power sector of the country running, Adelabu stressed that the topmost of all the support is the patronage by the government to ensure that all their productions are not just sitting in their various warehouses as stocks. He maintained that there must be regular patronage by the government, the distribution companies (DIsCOs), and the transmission companies, adding that what he saw at the factory were not only distribution metres but all kinds of metres.

Asked what the government support for the local metre manufacturers would translate to in terms of power distribution and consumption, the Minister said: “With the support that I’ve enumerated in terms of patronage, low-interest loans, and access to foreign exchange, it means that when we produce what we consume here in Nigeria, the cost is low because it requires a minimal proportion of foreign exchange; it also means improved quality because these things are adapted to our local peculiarities; it means a lot for our people.”

Also addressing journalists, the minister said his visit to the factory was a working and inspection visit to one of the local metre manufacturers in Ibadan to assess their facilities and the process of assembling metres locally.

Adelabu, who thanked Mr Ademola Agoro for hosting his team on a tour of the production factory, explained that the visit was part of the Ministry’s way of showing local metre manufacturers support and the needed encouragement, describing the manufacturers as the gateway to import substitution and export promotion and stressing the need to patronise and consume what is produced locally.

Agoro, who took the Minister and his entourage on a tour of various sections of the factory, disclosed that the company currently runs on about 1.2 million units of metre production capacity per year.

Agoro, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE), expressed confidence in the company’s capacity to double its current production capacity with the support of the federal government of Nigeria.

Addressing journalists shortly after meeting with the minister, Agoro stated that the minister’s visit was timely and encouraging as it signals potential collaborations to enhance the company’s production capacity.

Agoro disclosed further that all metres, including single, double, and 3-phased metres, as well as maximum demand metres, feeder metres, and distribution transformer metres produced at Protogy Global Services, are smart metres that can be controlled remotely by consumers.

Agoro expressed delight at the Minister’s visit, which he said was entirely on a fact-finding mission, adding that local metre manufacturers in the country would be encouraged by the deepened synergy and collaborations occasioned by such a visit, as he hopes his company gets patronage from the federal government of Nigeria.

He said, “Today, the Honourable Minister came to our factory on a fact-finding mission to see for themselves and the capacity of the company in the area of metre manufacturing.

“My delight after the Minister’s visit is that he has been able to see things for himself, and he has promised that not only us but all local metre manufacturers will be patronised by the federal government, and he has also promised to use his office to make sure everything that is hindering effective local metre manufacturing in Nigeria is addressed.

“He has assured us that the federal government is going to patronise us to be able to deliver good and quality metres to Nigerians,” Agoro said.

Speaking on the ease of doing business in Nigeria and the challenges faced by local metre manufacturers, Agoro highlighted two key challenges: the foreign exchange rate, which is due to the importation of electronic components for the metres, and the high cost of diesel to power the factory for production, which adds up to production costs.

Asked if the company has the capacity to meet the demand and expectations of the government if engaged to supply metres to Nigerians, Agoro said: “We have about five ejection machines that produce every plastic part of the metre; we do both single and three-phase, and we produce both single and three-phase metres, and all our metres are smart metres.

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