True Nigerian Experience Interview with Chantelle Abdul.
1. For 34 years, Mojec International holdings have gone from Power, Energy, Technology, Real Estates to mining. Kindly run us through your trajectory from 1985 to 2019.
MOJEC Group of Companies is an international holdings company headquartered in Lagos with operations in Power, oil and gas, Renewable Energy, Smart Homes, Mining and the retail sector. Its Subsidiary, Mojec Meter Company is the largest meter manufacturer in Nigeria.
Mojec international’s rich history is rooted in its provision of key products and services to the consumers. Mojec has its roots in FMCG (Fast Moving Consumers Goods), it began as a commodities company, distributing and marketing Michelin tyres, through its partnership with the French owned Michelin tyres; papers and foods to Nigerians, via its partnership with NORSE paper and WAPCO respectively.
Mojec eventually became Michelin tyres’ leading Distributor and was nominated Michelin Ambassador for West Africa in the year.
By the early 90’s the company had ventured into the Nigerian Power sector and was the first to introduce prepaid meter technology to the then NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) turned PHCN (POWER HOLDINGS COMPANY OF NIGERIA), the nationalised government parastatal which had the responsibility of generating, transmitting and distributing power in Nigeria.
The biggest issue with the national utility was revenue protection; its inability to collect payments on bills issued to customers. A prepaid meter afforded them the opportunity to collect payments ahead of consumption. At the time there was a 90% metering gap in the country as such Nigerians were given estimated bills by the Utility which led to a distrust of the utility by customers. Mojec took on the gigantic task of helping bridge the metering gap in the country.
In 2010, MOJEC introduced smart Meters into the country and by 2013 pre-privatisation of the power sector, Mojec International built the largest meter assembly facility with an installed capacity of 1.2 million meters in the heart of the commercial capital of the country, Lagos. Today the firm is tripling its production capacity by building a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant located in its ‘’SMART ELECTRIC-CITY’’ Project, the largest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.
By 2016, three years post- privatisation, Mojec had a 50% penetration into the market and by 2018 the company had footprints in over 75% of the metering market, serving 8 out of the 11 Utilities in the country. Mojec meters was the first firm in the power space to roll-out mass meters into the Nigerian market, providing multi- year financing payment options to the utilities to enable them deploy hundreds of thousands of meters to eager customers. Mojec pioneered the vendor financing of large meter contracts to utilities with minimal collateral requirement and as such Mojec Finance was born out of the necessity to provide financing options to the utilities in Nigeria. Mojec Meter company has the largest installation fleet in the country by virtue of the size of its meter production contract with the Discos.
Mojec Meter is now a leading indigenous manufacturer and contractor to power utilities in Nigeria and across the western hemisphere, and has won several awards such as West Africa Power Industry awards, in 2016. In 2019, Mojec achieved another milestone. The company got listed in the London Stock Exchange as one of the companies to inspire Africa. This accomplishment which the company is very proud of prides itself on hard work, great team of experts, innovation, great customer service and excellent service delivery.
Today, as part of its smart electric city project, Mojec is venturing into the local production of meter boxes, circuit breakers and other components that are used in metering to serve the 70% metering gap in the country which is initially estimated at between 5-10million meters. The company has also made great strides in mining assets in the country with intent to explore and refine produce for exports. Lastly, its greatest pride is in empowering young people and building Africa of the Future and to do so, Africa needs to leverage on technology to leap sing it the 22nd century.
At Mojec, we are committed to building a world of possibilities. We are building Africa’s future and building the future in Africa.
2. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission recently introduced Meter Assets Provider Scheme to fast track the roll-out of prepaid meters to the Electricity consumers. Consequently, Mojec Meters Assets Management company signed the retail financing with 8 Nigerian Banks for electricity consumers, how well have you gone with this initiative
The Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) introduced a new regulation called MAP (Meter Asset Provider Scheme) in May 2018. The scheme which was subsequently implemented in 2019 was designed to fast track the closure of the metering gap which extricates consumers from plight of dealing with estimated electricity bills given by the utilities. It also encouraged the development of independent and competitive meter services in the industry.
In April 2019, Mojec Meter company partnered with Eight (8) banks to provide loans to customers to enable them purchase meters. These partner banks include Zenith Bank, Polaris Bank, First Bank, Sterling Bank, Wema Bank, Unity Bank and Keystone bank. Customers can now approach these banks to get their meter purchasing loans.
Mojec Meter Asset Management Company (M3AC) is the MAP subsidiary of Mojec International. M3AC is saddled with the task of providing meter assets, installation and maintaining financing of these meters to end users for 1-10 years., It is the largest MAP in the country today.
“In 2019, Mojec achieved another milestone. The Company got listed on the London Stock Exchange as one of the companies to inspire Africa. This accomplishment, which the company is very proud of, prides itself on hard work, great team of experts, innovation, great customer service and excellence service delivery.
M3AC won the award to provide meters to 3million Nigerians over the course of 3 years, as such M3AC and Mojec Finance must develop the in-house capacity to lend money to retail customers. The opportunity for investment here is Immense because it runs into revenues in the hundreds of Millions of dollars and it entails lending to the informal sector of the country which makes up about 60% of the population.
3. Beyond Metring of homes and commercial clients, Mojec Power is said to be leading the provision of renewable energy to commercial and industrial clients. Tell us more about your venture into the clean Energy space.
In a strategic move to further tackle the challenge of uninterrupted power supply to Africans, 2019 was tagged ‘’ THE BEYOND METERING YEAR’’. Virtuitis Solaris is Mojec’s Portfolio company for the provision of renewable energy solutions and smart Energy. The company seeks to use the power of abundant Sun in Africa to power people’s homes, offices, industries and cars. During the day while they are not home, the power generated by the panels can be stored in smart energy storage units called V-cube or the V-container (which stores up to 100kv of power).
Virtutis Solaris also offers clients smart home Solutions which includes automation, Energy measurement and Energy Management. Customers are able to remotely switch on and off appliances in their homes in the bid to manage their energy consumption. Solaris intends to deploy solutions nationwide.
Solaris is also involved in building embedded mini grids for large commercial, industrial, and utility customers.
4. In your opinion, six years down the line, how well have we fared with Nigeria Power Privatisation Program of 2013.
In my opinion, we have fared very well with the Nigeria Power Privatisation Program of 2013. The Federal Government took the very bold step of privatizing the Nigerian power sector in 2013 with the sale of majority shares in the Distribution and Generation companies to private investors.
The privatization was driven by the desperate situation of the sector, which affected businesses and all aspects of Nigerian life, thereby crippling economic growth as only 4,000 megawatts of power was available to 180 million Nigerians.
One major key to our success has been the willingness to identify industry issues and tailor solutions to them and address industry issues directly. Some examples include lack of finance in the sector, we designed to address this issue with the distribution companies (discos). We were able to get and offer vendor funding which made our meters attractive to our customers and the discos. Another example is our willingness to tailor our meters to address the needs of our customers, such as enhanced resistance to tampering. This helps to ensure adoption in the market. We also ensure that at all times we are the most cost effective and reliable solution to our client’s problems.
As we look into the future, while acknowledging the great challenges ahead, we continue to see opportunity for growth in the sector and are willing and able to partner with key industry stakeholders to face and surmount the industry problems head on.