The Federal Government-funded Phase 1 of the National Mass Metering Programme, NMMP, scheduled to begin in August, appears to have been put on hold, following allegations of fraud by the Central Bank of Nigeria against some Meter Asset Providers, MAPs.
A source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, told our reporters that there was no indication that Phase 1 meter distribution would begin this month because power distribution companies had yet to receive meters.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in collaboration with the Presidential Power Task Force, launched the NMMP. The initiative was launched in August 2020 to allow the CBN to fund the acquisition of meters on DisCos’ behalf by paying directly to MAPs. The free metering program began with Phase 0, in which one million meters were supposed to be distributed.
However, on July 20, the CBN requested that the Federal High Court in Lokoja, Kogi State, freeze the accounts of 157 MAPs for allegedly diverting funds intended for the procurement of prepaid meters.
In a lawsuit, the apex bank asked commercial banks to freeze the accounts of ten companies that received NMMP intervention funds for 180 days pending the outcome of its investigation.
According to one of our sources, the DisCos accused some MAPs of not providing them with enough meters during the CBN’s recent visits to the DisCos’ offices.