In order to encourage business, the Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA), a civil society organization, has advocated for MSMEs to be protected and informed about their rights to power supply.
The request was made in Abuja at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) version of the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Electricity Consumers Protection Advocacy Program by Mr. Princewill Okorie, the APPA’s National Coordinator, at the programme themed: “Developing and Promoting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises operating in the Federal Capital Territory through exposition on Consumer Protection Component of Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005″.
According to him, this will stop Distribution Companies (DisCos) from engaging in unethical business tactics against consumers nationwide.
He claimed that the initiative, which was in accordance with the objectives of the Abuja Enterprises Agency and the National MSME Policy, would help the FCT’s business owners understand their legal obligations as energy consumers.
Billing, metering, fault repairs, connection and disconnection, complaint processing, and resolutions were among the rights he highlighted.
According to him, MSMEs would be able to avoid, resist, and seek redress against unfair business practices committed against them by licensed distribution businesses if they are aware of these rights and have the skills and capacity to assure their legitimate application.
“The expected result of the advocacy shall include: application of the rule of law, protection of consumer rights of MSMEs, improved enforcement of regulatory policies on electricity protection,” he said.
According to him, fines would be applied to electricity distribution companies (DisCos) who violate MSMEs’ rights as consumers.
He continued by saying that the steps would help MSMEs save money, have positive customer relationships with DisCos, and deliver better products and services.
“This will improve the economy of FCTA as these MSMEs pay revenue, levies and taxes to the Area Councils and FCT administration to enhance availability of products and services for FCT residents,” he said.
The Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr. Oluwale Fasanya, stated in his keynote speech that it was the agency’s duty to create policies to ensure the convenience of conducting business.
Fasanya stated that it was the agency’s duty to ensure Nigeria’s MSMEs’ competitiveness in the international market while being represented by FCT Director of SMEDAN, Mrs. Mary Kolawole.
According to him, the agency was collaborating with key players in the public and private sectors to guarantee that small and medium-sized businesses flourished in the nation.
He asserts that businesses will suffer greatly as a result of the multiplier impact of high electricity prices and inadequate supply, which will raise the cost of production for MSMEs and lower their ability to compete on the international market.
“To combat these menace, the agency is working closely with the public and private sector to advocate for the establishment of industrial development centres.”
According to him, it will also promote the adoption of the performance criteria for electrical consumer licenses and maintain track of advocacy and enlightenment programs for MSMEs.
Fasanya stated that SMEDAN was now carrying out the MSMEs mass registration initiative all across the nation in an effort to establish reliable data about MSMEs in the country.
“This data base will enhance evidence-based planning for wholesome development of the sub sector and all MSMEs are encouraged to register as there are numerous benefits to be derived from the exercise,” he said.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), according to Mrs. Janet Udo, Assistant Director, is prepared to support the APPA in its aim to inform consumers in that sector of their rights.
Udo claimed that the commission had assisted customers in understanding their rights, upholding those rights, and requesting high-quality services.