The Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi (Reama) has asked the government to revert to the old Barrier Removal to Renewable Energy in Malawi (Barrem) project, to protect consumers from fake products that have flooded the market.
Reama President, Andrew Nkoloma, said after the setting up of the association as a bridge to development gaps in the renewable energy sector, the government discovered that one major barrier was high duty on products such as solar and power generators.
Nkoloma said the government removed import duty, thus excise and surtax, but to only certified distributors.
“This was a way of trying to promote the renewable energy sector. Later on, the government opened up the market for everybody and introduced Value Added Tax on the products.
“The liberalisation of the market had its own disadvantages, whereby everybody was free to import such products. This has resulted in the flooding of sub-standard and fake products on the market,” he said.
Nkoloma said through Barrem, the government was able to control the import of the products, before and after importing the products.
He said the government would check all the products using available documents and then stamp them for duty free clearance after checking that the products are of good quality.
“Companies are now paying surtax, which is an extra cost to the consumer. We feel the government should go back to the original arrangement, in order to promote the sector.
“The government should also bring control as it was before, companies have to be registered by the Malawi Energy and Regulatory Authority and, through that, we believe there will be control,” Nkoloma said.
Solar Traders Association President, Chisambazi Nyirenda, concurred with Nkoloma saying a policy would help put controls.
He said there’s need to specify that only duly registered businesses be allowed waivers for quality control and discipline to avoid an influx of sub-standard products on the market.
“Mera should register solar businesses and the ones allowed to import the products should enjoy the waivers. The barrem project that was instituted before was a success; hence, there’s need to refine and reinstitute some of the ideals that were being followed to curtail an influx of fake products,” Nyirenda said