By G9ija

Importers of electricity meters got a reprieve yesterday as President Muhammadu Buhari approved a one-year deferment of the 35 per cent Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) imposed on Fully Built Unit (FBU) HS Code 9028.30.00.00 meters.

The gesture is to make electricity meters affordable for consumers.

Finance and National Planning Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed had requested for the approval to support the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in rolling three million electricity meters, which is under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) framework.

The 35 per cent levy, which was approved in 2015 on the importation of FBU electricity meters, attracted 10 per cent import duty rate under the ECOWAS CET.

Mrs. Ahmed explained: “The 35 per cent levy was imposed on the recommendation of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, to encourage local production, as well as protect investments in the local assembly of electricity meters.

“An important feature of the MAP regulation is a gradual up scaling of the patronage of local manufacturers of electricity meters with an initial minimum local content of 30 per cent with the potential of significant job creation in the area of meter assembly, installation and maintenance.”

In applying for IAT deferment, the minister said: “The application of the 35 per cent levy on electricity meters – HS Code 9028.30.00.00 has created a significant challenge to the smooth implementation of MAP scheme of NERC.”

Though the 35 per cent levy has been in existence since 2015, the MAP regulations by National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in 2018 to bridge electricity metering gap, it did not factor in the 35 per cent levy in arriving at the regulated cost of electricity meters to end-users (consumers).