Nigerian’s hope of constant power supply damned as govt increases import duties on solar panels

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Nigeria’s plan to produce 30 per cent of its electricity through renewable energy may be stalled as the price of generating solar power has soared, Naija247news understand.

Solar energy is the commonest and cheapest form of renewable energy produced by individuals, local and state governments. Private firms also see it as cheaper compared to biomass.

It was gathered that the price of generating solar power has gone up, following Federal Government’s decision to increase customs duty on solar power equipment from five to 10 per cent.

Findings at the weekend also revealed that the issue had resulted in the closure of many solar firms, as they could barely procure materials for operation. It was also discovered that price of solar panels, batteries and other equipment had risen considerably.

Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) President, Mr Segun Adaju, said the development was expected as there was no other means of generating solar electricity except through importation of solar equipment.

He said many firms that produce solar power had folded up; few others are struggling to survive.

According to him, operators have suffered losses as a result of the development, adding that the profit margin of the operation is continually decreasing.

Adaju said: ‘’Many of the equipment used in generating solar power have suffered demurrage, as operators are unable to clear them from the ports due to rise in duties payable to government. By the time the goods are cleared, operators are left with little or no margins on the services of products they are releasing to the energy market. So, why won’t they (firms) close shops?

“Many of the operators have reduced their employees, owing to the fact that they could not meet their obligations to them. Imagine a situation where many of the 10,000 direct and indirect jobs created by the operators in the solar energy segment has joined the labour market.”

He said REAN has written the Federal Government, National Assembly and the Nigerian Customs Service on the issue to getting a reversal of the policy.

He said there was no justification for the duty rise on the strength that under the Common External Tariff (CET) Code 8541.4010.00- classification for import duty tariff- import duty on solar panels should be zero per cent.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.