Group protests new import duty on solar panels

A private sector energy group, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN), has condemned the new 5 – 10 per cent import duty on solar panels imposed on its members by the Nigerian Customs Service.  Segun Adaju, President of REAN, said there was no justification for the duty on the strength that under the CET code 8541.4010.00 – a classification for import duty tariff – import duty on solar panels should be zero per cent.

Adaju said discharge of goods from the ports has been slowed down immensely and demurrage charges have risen for his members since the beginning of the year. He explained that this development would affect Nigeria’s quest to improve the ease of doing business and deepen energy access for people with inadequate access to power.

He said, ‘’Nigeria moved up 24 places, from 169th to 145th , on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report in 2017 because this administration has demonstrated a willingness to improve the business climate and ensure the survival of the private sector. We commend the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) team on its successes thus far. “However, it will be counterproductive for government agencies at the ports to operate in a manner that sets them against the vision of government. This will reverse achievements this government has made thus far.

“As concerned Nigerians and sector participants, the members of REAN have answered the National call by providing solutions to the country’s epileptic power situation and our members currently provide over 10,000 direct & indirect jobs to the Nigerian economy.

“This is apart from the other benefits like increased disposable incomes, improved environmental conditions (like reduced noise and air pollution due to displacement of diesel generators). The imposition of arbitrary port charges will accelerate value destruction within this industry and will cause prices to rise to uncompetitive levels.

“All over the world, the cost of solar panels is falling leading to increased adoption of renewables. Paris-based International Energy Association said that renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world in 2016, with almost 165 gigawatts (GW) coming online boosted by solar.”Arguing that the duty is counterproductive, the REAN president said the country stands to lose out on the development because Nigeria currently does not have capacity to manufacture solar panels but does limited assembly in volumes that cannot meet market demand hence its recourse to importation while growing capacity locally.

Mr. Adaju said the tariff will increase acquisition cost of solar panels in Nigeria which are currently heavily deplored in rural areas where purchasing power is low, adding that the development could derail Nigeria’s plan to generate 30 per cent of electricity through renewables by 2030. Premium Times