The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government to resolve its N29 billion electricity tariff dispute with the Electricity Distribution Companies and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The Director-General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos.
Ajayi-Kadir made the call while assessing the three years performance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, its impact on the manufacturing sector and setting agenda for the coming year.
He urged the Federal Government to assist in settling the dispute out of court by picking part of the N29 billion debt.
According to him, the dispute arose because the Discos and NERC (allegedly) failed to abide by the new Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2015) that was subsisting at that time.
He said: “By the last count, I was told that cumulatively manufacturers owe the Discos N29 billion and that is absolutely a crazy figure.
“We want the government to intervene and find an amicable solution to the issue so that the 2,000 megawatts that manufacturers ought to benefit from would be released and not hindered by this court process.
“The government can also pick up part of the bill as a matter of urgency to bail out the sector.”
NAN recalls that the dispute arose when MAN directed its members nationwide to ignore the new MYTO 2015.
The association later went to court to obtain an injunction restraining NERC and DISCOs from implementing the new tariff regime.
MAN said that the tariff was too expensive for manufacturers and would lead to closure of many businesses.
Besides, the Director-General said that the Eligible Customer Policy evolved by the government might not have the desired impact on the manufacturing sector due to the unresolved N29 billion debt issue.
He said that the policy would not work because MAN was told that for it to access the eligible customer scheme it must have a no debt bill with the Discos.
NAN recalls that the policy was targeted at enabling consumers purchase power directly from the GENCOs, instead of depending wholly on the Discos.
Ajayi-Kadir said that although these measures were meant to assist the manufacturing sector, the government should ensure factors militating against their workability, such as the debt issue, were tackled.
According to him, the current administration has done a lot, but still expects we expect the government to work more on allowing these initiatives to work, particularly in the areas of power.
He said: “It is a dilemma for us in the manufacturing sector because the cost of power is high and we have inadequate supply.
“I believe that government should work more on generation, particularly distribution. The Discos are challenged and they have enumerated quite a lot of challenges that are militating against their effective performance.
“The government needs to remove the impediments with the Discos by intervening in the process of out of court settlement and also help them with their distribution challenges.”