Scrap taxes on solar units – USADF

Government is being urged to further reduce taxes on solar panels to enhance the growth of off-grid energy sources to address challenges confronting the energy sector.

This is the appeal of some corporations involved in funding the energy sector.
According to them, even though there has been a reduction in cost of solar panels, the increasing tax components on their imports limit their widespread use.

Speaking to Citi Business News at a workshop for some beneficiaries of Power Africa’s funding for businesses in the energy sector, the Managing Partner for the US African Development Foundation (USADF) in Ghana, Christoph Anagbonu said,
“Now the costs of solar panels are coming down, if the tax elements on these panels can be reduced drastically, or even taken off, that will reduce the cost of the panel used in the designing of some of the projects.
He added, “A research conducted revealed that people complained about the initial capital involved in undertaking off grid projects such as solar systems.

It is all about the components that they are using, so they require tax incentives either a waiver completely or a reduction in how much they are expected to pay.”

The USADF, USAID and General Electric (GE) Africa have since 2013 provided about $300,000 funding support to seven companies involved in the provision of off-grid energy solutions.

Although USADF’s Regional Director, Tom Coogan says the move will not ultimately end the continent’s power challenges, he is optimistic of its contribution to significantly reduce the power challenge,
“The target by President Obama to expand the continent’s power capacity by 30,000 megawatts with 60 million new connections was a realistic one. However, that won’t end the crisis but would significantly contribute to the solution,”
“Other partners include the DFID in the UK are helping to make significant inroads with regards to the energy challenge in Africa.” He stated.

Tom Coogan was also hopeful that the project will be sustained by successive governments even as a new government takes over in 2017.

“This is a presidential initiative that we expect to be carried on by other governments, the Millenium Challenge Account (MCA) was started by President George Bush but President Obama is still continuing it…Both Republicans and Democrats support this cause so we fully expect that whoever wins will be carrying on the project,” he observed.

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