Solar power firms are winding up operations over the rising cost of solar power equipment in the country, it was learnt.
The firms, mostly from states in the northern and eastern parts of the country, are shutting down following the decision by the Federal Government to increase Customs duty on solar power equipment from five to 10 per cent, since early this year.
The prices of solar panels, batteries and other equipment used in generating solar electricity have increased by 100 per cent, thus hindering the plans by investors to invest in solar electricity.
Mostly affected are firms which build mini-grids, with a view to connect communities, which are off the national grid, access electricity.
The President, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN), Mr Segun Adaju, said the body rejected the rise in Customs duty on solar panels on the ground that it was causing untold pains to the firms.
He said many of his members were losing patronage, as they could not afford to buy panels imported from abroad, adding that many would be out of business soon.
According to him, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has increased the woes of operators, by indiscriminately increasing the duty on solar equipment.
‘’Records have shown that few solar operators have stopped production in the past few months, due to the fact that they cannot get enough materials for operation. We as members of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria have written the Federal Government ditto the Nigerian Customs Service on the issue, with a view to making the government reduce the duty.”
Adaju said there was no justification for the duty because under the Common External Tariff (CET) code 8541.4010.00 – classification for import duty tarrif – import duty on solar panels should be zero per cent.
Adaju said discharge of goods from the ports have been slowed down immensely and demurrage charges have risen for his members since early this year, when the government implemented the new tarrif regime.
Source: The Nation