By Solomon Asowata
Lagos, May 5, 2021 The Federal Government has been advised to direct Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to employ more installers to fast-track the ongoing National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
Mr Kola Balogun, the Chairman, MOMAS Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company (MEMMCOL) gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said the 11 DisCos should be mandated to temporary employ a minimum of 500 installers each.
NAN reports that the Federal Government had on Oct. 30, 2020 inaugurated NMMP, aimed at meeting the target of closing the metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry by December 2021.
It would also assist in reducing collection losses, while at the same time increasing financial flows to achieve 100 per cent market remittance obligation of the DisCos.
Part of the objectives also include the elimination of arbitrary estimated billing, improving network monitoring capability and provision of data for market administration and investment decision-making.
Balogun noted that the major challenge faced by the programme was manpower due to the huge metering gap in the country.
“In order to optimise this programme, it is important to compel the DisCos to expand the scope of employment so that the DisCos themselves will recruit some contract staff based on installations.
“The greatest challenge the scheme is facing today is insufficient installers on the field.
“The logistics that is required is enormous and we need more hands. So the only way for them to speed up the process is for government to compel the DisCos to employ a minimum of 500 installers on contract.’’
He said that payment of the workers had been embedded in the financial framework of the scheme, adding that it would not be an additional burden to the DisCos.
“Government has already taken care of the installation payment, so under this phase zero where the metering target is one million, the DisCos should employ 500 installers each.
“They can employ more but what the DisCos are running away from is training of installers because the money to be paid to them is already embedded in the installation cost component of the meter.
“What the DisCos need to do is to recruit the installers, train them and pass them to the Meter Assets Provider (MAP) licensee to join them in order to fast-track the programme,’’ he explained.
Balogun said the NMMP was a laudable programme that should be sustained for national development.
He said the volume of meters needed to bridge the metering gap in the country was huge and the recruitment of installers would help in creating employment opportunities for Nigerians.
“The NMMP is an opportunity for us to develop our technological capacity as a nation. Many of our youths are being trained on manufacturing and installation of meters which is good for the country,’’ Balogun said.