‘Coronavirus, VAT increment to affect meter supply to customers’
The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) said the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic codenamed COVID-19 in China and other parts of the world, as well as the upward review of Value Added Tax from five to 7.5 per cent are major obstacles hindering the supply of meters to customers in its area of franchise.
Head of Branding and Corporate Communications of the distribution company, Mrs. Angela Olanrewaju, stated this during a sensitisation programme on electricity distribution within the IBEDC purview of operation in collaboration with the Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI) and other civil society coalition groups in Ibadan.
Olanrewaju said the current lockdown on the global economy as a result of the killer virus made it difficult for the Meter Access Providers handling importation of meters into the country to ship in the product.
“You will recall that last year, we signed on some Meter Access Providers. They were supposed to bridge the metering gap in the sector. But part of the challenges we are having is that in the whole world, the economy is on lockdown. They cannot even bring meters from China. You know that China is one of the major manufacturers of meters.
“That is a challenge for our Meter Access Providers. It is hindering them from meeting their obligations to customers. The effect of Coronavirus is felt in this regard. We all know that the Coronavirus is having economic implication on virtually all areas. So, our meter access providers that are importing meters cannot bring it in; there is nothing happening in China now, so to speak. So, we are praying that this Coronavirus pandemic is going to be over soon and then meters can come in”, Olanrewaju said.
The corporate communications head urged members of the public to be patient with the company stressing that Meter Accessing Providers services had not been cancelled,saying: “We are still on MAP. Please, just go through the process; once you pay, we are looking at 10days. Once you get to that point, you know that the onus is on us and the MAP to meet our customers.”
Olanrewaju added that the new Value Added Tax (VAT) regime of 7.5 per cent was also a big challenge that is mitigating against ease of metering within the company’s coverage areas. “This is another challenge to customers because they need to pay more. The price of meters have increased; we need to factor in the VAT.
“VAT used to be 5percent but now, it is 7.5 per cent. So, that means that the MAP needed to factor in the extra into their cost. That first of all made many customers a bit reluctant. We know that the economy is struggling right now, so parting with that money has been a struggle.
“First of all, the increase in VAT slowed down customers application for MAP and then, the Coronavirus too stepped in. We are hoping that instalmental payment option would enable customers to be able to embrace MAP. It will now give them the choice to decide if they want to defray the cost in one year or two.”
The single face meter used to cost about N38,325 while the three-face meter was N70,350.Earlier, the Regional Head, IBDEC, Ibadan, Peter Oyelami, representing the company’s Chief Operating Officer, noted that the interactive session provided opportunity for the public and the electricity company to explore possible ways of addressing common challenges.
The Executive Director, TADI, Ambassador Yomi David, who spoke from the viewpoint of the civil society organisations, urged the IBEDC to consider the interest of electricity consumers by providing meters, improving supplies and securing infrastructures, among other things.
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