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Solar, renewable energy sector seeks duty cut in upcoming budget

WT24 Desk

Entrepreneurs in solar and renewable energy sector have placed a 13-point proposal seeking cut in customs duty (CD) and value added tax (VAT) on different items in the upcoming budget for the fiscal year 2016-17, UNB reports. Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association (BSREA) as a representing body of the sector has placed the proposals to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) recently.

According to sources in the solar sector, the main proposals include withdrawal of the existing 5 percent customs duty from solar panel and impose zero duty on different solar-run items like solar DC fan, DC TV and portable PICO solar power system up to 15 watt-peak, solar DC refrigerator up to 200 watt-peak and also stoves using biomass.

Similarly, the BSREA demands include withdrawal of the existing 15 percent VAT from solar inverter, solar charge controller, solar pump, solar LED light and solar-powered lanterns, lamps, biogas digester and airtight storage bag with zippers.

In a letter to the NBR, the BSREA said the imposing zero customs duty by withdrawing the existing 5 percent will help overcome all the cost burdens to make solar PV panel increasingly affordable as this has been the main parts of solar home system for rural people.

On the demand of imposing zero VAT on solar inverter and charge controller, the BSREA said if zero percent VAT is imposed on these two important components of solar power generation, it would help make the solar system affordable to the low-income group.

About the demand for the withdrawal of 15 percent VAT from solar irrigation pump and LED light, the association said the measure will help make the irrigation system cost effective and LED light affordable to rural customers. “LED light is 80 percent more efficient,” it added.

BSREA president Dipal C Barua said solar and renewable energy are contributing positively to the socioeconomic conditions and livelihood of the rural people. “Over 4 million solar home system (SHS) has already been installed in rural areas which is largest in the world,” he said adding more that 10 percent people are enjoying solar energy in rural areas.

He noted that solar mini-grid and solar irrigation are expanding in a faster pace.

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