At the end of June 2016, the East African Community published a gazette which included a new interpretation of the regulation for the 'free of duty' import for appliances powered from solar. In the amended wording, electricity generation and appliances are fully separated. This means that, from now on, solar powered appliances are no longer eligible for tariff exemption in the EAC region. This affects five countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.
GOGLA has been working with partners from EAC member countries to highlight the fact that the new wording is contradictory (‘spare parts and accessories' have been removed from the list of exempt items). The omission will lead to confusion. And by discontinuing financial incentive policy, the sector will suffer enormously, with industry players across the board being negatively impacted.
GOGLA is taking a coordinated approach, bringing major stakeholders on board to lobby the EAC to reinstate the original wording of the tariff act. The first step of this process has been a co-signed letter and accompanying paper to the Ministries of Energy in all five EAC nations, stating the line of argument on behalf of EAC members, and the industry as a whole.
These papers mark the beginning of an important advocacy process. Going forward, GOGLA’s policy working group will be the body where this issue is discussed and progressed further.