Mass Metering Initiative: Tinubu’s Intervention Led To Project Take Off

Contrary to reports that due process was not followed in the mass metering project of Military formations nationwide, which began last week, fresh facts have emerged about the intervention of President Bola Tinubu on the project which began 20 years ago.

According to a statement released by Bolaji Tunji, Special Adviser, Strategic Communications and Media Relations to Chief Adebayo Adelabu, Minister of Power, the Federal government had entered a tripartite agreement with Messrs Ziklagsis Network limited and Unistar International in 2003 for the supply of three million meters to distribution companies (DISCOs) in the country, within three years.

To kick start the project, a revolving metering loan of N32billion was released to Messrs Ziklagsis. The agreement was not implemented while the fund remained in the bank account of Ziklagsis at the then Prudent Bank from where it moved to Skye bank, Polaris and lately, Providus bank.

With the privatisation of distribution, the government proposed the metering of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in order to accurately determine the consumption of these MDAs and also reduce accumulated debts. “This was what led to the initiative to meter military formations nationwide”, the statement said.

Worried by its bludgeoning electricity debt, the Nigerian Army wrote a letter to the presidency requesting for intervention to pay off the outstanding debt and the metering of their formations. The Federal government then directed the Ministry to look into the army’s request and utilise the funds with Ziklagsis.

“It was then that Ziklagsis was introduced to the Nigerian army by the Ministry of Power. It was around this period that the Nigerian Army also introduced De Haryor Global Services to Ziklagsis to enable them work together. In November 2022, discussion began on the project among the parties and an agreement was signed between the Nigerian Army as client, Messrs Ziklagsis as project supervisor and De Haryor Global Services as service provider to commence the metering projects in Army barracks at a cost of N12.7billion, under the MDAs metering project . This predates the appointment of Adelabu as Minister of Power. In spite of this, the money was not released to the service provider that had already gone ahead to seek funds for the acquisition of smart meters.

Concerned about the over eight million meter gap in the country and the liquidity squeeze in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), the Minister wondered how money meant for a national project could be held up untouched for over 20 years by an individual. He therefore mounted pressure and escalated the matter to the presidency for the retrieval of the revolving fund from Messrs Ziklagsis plus accrued interest till date. This was duly approved by the President. Upon the President’s approval, N12.7billion was therefore to be released in tranches to De Haryor Global Services to commence installation of already procured smart meter.

“The Minister should therefore be commended for his effort in ensuring the recovery of the revolving meter fund which had been untouchable for over 20 years, thus enabling the eventual take off of the project”, the statement said.

Speaking further on the issue, Tunji advised concerned stakeholders to seek clarifications on issues before misleading members of the public. “It was stated that the service provider did not have any experience in that industry, this is however far from the truth as seen in the trajectory of the entire project. The Minister was not privy to the arrangement between the army and the service provider. His job is not to intervene in operational issues but provide the enabling environment through policies and guidelines. All he did in this case was to escalate and secure Presidential approval to facilitate the phased release of fund for the project to begin. In any case, De Haryor is not new in the industry, it had been an active operator in the industry. In March 2022, the company applied to the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) to certify its meter and a certificate was issued. Similarly, in 2022, De Haryor got another certificate attesting to the suitability of its meters”.

“Not only that, there was a Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval during the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and approval of successive administrations for this project while the revolving loan still has to be paid back through deductions from the sales of energy from the meters provided”.

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