Tell the Nigerian Customs Service to follow CET 8541.4010.00 and stop the duty on solar!

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Despite CET code 8541.4010.00 - a classification for import duty tariff - stating that the import duty on solar panels should be 0% solar energy providers are being taxed 5-10% on all solar panels by the Nigerian Customs Service.

Consequently, discharge of goods from ports have slowed considerably. Demurrage charges have risen for all solar energy suppliers as well, which only raises the price of reliable solar energy for customers. This has grave implications for Nigeria’s quest to improve economic productivity and increase energy access in the country. 

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 the government has made thus far.

The Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, and its member organizations that include ICE Commercial Power, 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. The country stands to lose out on this.

Nigeria currently does not have capacity to manufacture solar panels in volumes that can meet market demand hence our recourse to importation while growing capacity locally. This tariff will increase acquisition cost of solar panels in Nigeria which are currently heavily deplored in rural areas where purchasing power is low. This could derail Nigeria’s plan to generate 30 percent of electricity through renewables by 2030.

And so we ask the Nigerian Customs Service to stop the import duty on solar energy.