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Scrap taxes on solar equipment, LCCI tells FG

Scrap taxes on solar equipment, LCCI tells FG

Madu Yusuf, LCCI Boss

The Director-General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, has said that the import duty and taxes on solar equipment including batteries and inverters should be scrapped so as to improve access to renewable energy solutions.

The call followed the recent suggestion that a state of emergency should be declared in the power sector by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

Yusuf said that there was a need to encourage the use of alternative sources of power such as solar, adding that the power sector reform had not delivered the desired outcomes.

According to him, It is important to ensure rapid promotion of renewable energy solutions through the enactment of policies that will make it more affordable

“The current high cost of acquiring renewable energy installation has been a major impediment to the access of this energy solution. For instance, the costs of solar panels and batteries are very prohibitive. I submit that import duty and taxes on solar equipment, solar batteries and inverters should be scrapped to improve access to renewable energy solutions,” he said.

Muda, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent,  said that there were issues of due diligence, technical capacity, financial capacity, political interference, commercial losses, technical losses, tariff and the economics of the private sector investment.

“Meanwhile, it is important to have a more holistic approach to the issue of power. There should be greater emphasis on off-grid solutions in order to ensure the decentralisation of the power sector. The current model of high dependence on the national grid has not worked well to serve the economy.  The country is too vast for the highly centralised regime of national grid.  The continued ownership and control of the transmission component of the power supply chain is also a challenge to grapple with,” said Yusuf.

Due to all these diverse internal and external variables that impeded the achievement of the desired outcomes of the power sector reform, Muda said it was important to ensure the rapid promotion of renewable energy solutions through the enactment of policies that would make it more affordable.

“Power sector is critical to the development of the country.  Most often, there is a conflict between development objectives and commercial objectives.  I believe the government still needs to provide some resource support and generous fiscal incentives for investors in the sector because of the economic development and social impact of an improved power sector performance.  What should be avoided is public sector management of such enterprise.   We do not have a record of good corporate governance in most public enterprises,” he said.

In another development, the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, Dr Joy Ogaji, said that it would be a good decision if a state of emergency was declared in the power sector.

According to her, the declaring a state of emergency will make the government to focus on the power sector and solve the anomalies associated with the sector.

“There are a lot of issues in the power sector which are not clear to the people. If we want to make progress in any sector, the power sector must get it right. If a state of emergency is declared, the government will now focus and get it right. If we don’t have adequate power in Nigeria, we won’t have competitive edge with other countries,” she said.

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