In West Africa, the national coordinator and CEO of the Nigeria-China Business Council, Matthew Onwekwe confirmed that the council is intensifying its efforts to increase foreign investments into Nigeria for the manufacture of prepaid meters.
During a press briefing this week held in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, Onwekwe explained that there are some Chinese investors actively engaged in the manufacturing of prepaid electricity meters in Nigeria.
However, earlier this year, the National Assembly sought to enforce the National Content Act in the power sector by directing various Electricity distribution companies to partner with local meter manufacturers with the view to providing prepaid meters to electricity consumers in the country.
Attracting Chinese manufacturing for prepaid meters
Onwekwe commented: “We have invited a lot of investors from China who are here today. The Council has met and discussed with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Ministry of Power and agreed that we must intensify our efforts to bring investments into that sector by getting people to establish factories where prepaid meters will be manufactured.”
The Council has made progress into in-country manufacturing of electricity meters for Nigeria’s power sector, and NERC has provided its assurance on safeguarding such efforts with protectionist regulations.
Onwekwe explained that: “We are now talking to partners to bring home their expertise and manufacture made-in-Nigeria products, fit for global consumption.”
He added: “If NERC will maintain this, it will encourage people to go into manufacturing of meters in-country, instead of importing in the way that Skyrun does at the Calabar Free Trade Zone.”
Correcting trade imbalances of the past
He explained that in 2009 when the council was established under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the level of trade between the two countries was not ideal and it was decided to address the imbalance in trade relations.
Onwekwe concluded: “Over the past six years, the council has nurtured bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and China, in efforts to turn the tide from $2.7 billion in favour of China and $700 million in favour of Nigeria to where it stands today at $13 billion and $10.5 billion in favour of these trading partners respectively.”