• Monday, May 27, 2024
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How new electricity tariff is suffocating businesses in South East, by Jideonwo

How new electricity tariff is suffocating businesses in South East, by Jideonwo

Odeiga Jideonwo, president of Enugu Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), in this Interview with Regis Anukwuoji spoke on the recently held Enugu International Trade Fair, the challenge of power supply to the Trade Fair Complex and the businesses in the South East, among other issues. Excerpts:

Some people believe that this year’s fair was not well attended, despite all your effort to ensure improved participation of exhibitors; what really was the matter?

Well, both in terms of number of exhibitors and participants, I will say it was a huge success and also the quality of exhibitors we had this year was a huge achievement over what we had in the recent past. So, my impression like I said over and over again is a success. We are happy with what we have achieved this time around but we are not resting on our oars. We see this edition as a stepping stone; we will build on the gains that we have achieved this time to have a better outing come 2025. We will also look at areas that we did not get it right; areas we fell short of expectations and we will also improve on that.

You said that 2025 will see a better outing as the Chamber would make a lot of changes; can we know some of those changes or introductions that would improve the experience?

Yes, the number one which is very important is that we are going to completely change the way we conduct our Fairs. I personally believe that our Fairs should be such that our exhibitors and participants will have a convenient experience. That is why we are doing that building over there 9pointing at an ongoing construction); that building has the capacity to house not less than 200 exhibitors and in the grand scheme of things, this is one out of about six of such building we are going to do here. This is the first phase. So, come next year, the exhibitors’ experience must be different. That would also affect price of goods at the Fair, because our exhibitors will pay less, coming to trade fair will cost them less because they would not have to construct or build expensive temporary structures for their goods

We also realised that the cost of erecting the structures ended up being passed onto the people that come to the fair to buy. So, come next year, the prices will be low; it will cost exhibitors less; the experience will be different, more convenient. Imagine now we are all partly sweating but come next year we will be in an Air-conditioned environment; so, it will be a good experience.

Will the gate fee also be made free like this year?

I can’t answer that now, but we hope to have it free; like I said we are going to x-ray all we have done; we look at our numbers and take decision to move forward.

How is the fair coping with EEDC in the supply of power, considering the number of exhibitors and other businessmen for the period?

Electricity consumers are graded to ABCD. Band A is meant to have customers or consumers who have up to 20 hours of supply in a day. In most other states, they were honest with it, if a particular feeder does not qualify or does not have up to 20 hours supply, it is not counted as Band A feeder; the cost difference is about 300 percent, but what the EEDC did when they got that directive was to move feeders that do not have up to 20 hours supply to Band A and they now pay about three times more than what they used to pay which is wrong. Now, here is under Band A (Gulf), we were paying sixty (60) something Naira for a kilowatt before, now we are paying heavily per a kilowatt. You have been here as we speak now, there is no power supply and we have been out of power supply for today more than ten hours, yet the category as Feeder A.

So, we are please calling on NERC to call EEDC to order, what they are doing is tantamount to defrauding the South-Easterners. It is important to us it is not in tandem with the theme of this fair which is encouraging local production. Industries will suffer, bear the cost of diesel, because we don’t have power, you pay extremely high tariff, it does not not help productivity.