Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has threatened to withdraw the licences of operators in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industries (NESI), who prefer foreign materials and services to locally-fabricated equipment in their operations.
Speaking at a two-day Stakeholders Workshop on Minimum Specification of Nigerian Content and Requirement for Labour in the Power Sector and Exhibition of Local Products/Services for the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, at the weekend, in Abuja, Mr Chijioke Obi, who represented the Chairman of NERC, Professor James Momoh, said that the non-usage of local equipment is a violation of the local content development law.
The regulation stipulates that for the manufacturing of turbines, the manufacturers should from this year compulsorily engage 10 per cent local content, 15 per cent in 2022 and 30 per cent by 2024.
Consequently, the Commission would henceforth commence enforcement of its regulation which is backed by Executive Order 5.
The Commission, he said, has therefore, set up a special monitoring unit for the purpose of identifying and bringing to book anybody that violates the order.
Earlier, the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had charged NERC to ensure the implementation of local content policy of the government.
The Minister who spoke through the Director of Procurement, Engineer Ahmed Abu, said: “The NESI (Nigerian Electricity Supply Industries) is heavily dependent on imported human resources, material, equipment and services. It is consequently vulnerable to foreign exchange availability and rates, to the extent that contracts for gas and generation are dominated in foreign currency. It is time to systematically develop Nigerian capacity and content in the industry for its long-term growth and stability.”
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari, pursuant to the authority vested in him by the constitution, had ordered that ‘all procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007.’
Buhari, he said, had directed ministries, departments and agencies to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, designing and execution of national security projects.
“Consideration shall only be given to a foreign professional where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria” he said.