Ethiopia: no duty free for solar products

Privileges lost in translation: "Funny story" from Ethiopia

Government of Ethiopia believes removal of duty on solar PV systems would assist the effort for accelerated rural off-grid electrification. To this effect, it passed a regulation for zero duty on solar PV and the balance of system in Dec. 2009. The paradox is that duty free solar PV goods would cost 10 times more than duty paid solar PV goods. As they say, ‘the devil is in the details’, the irony is in the annexes of the regulation that state eligibility for duty free privilege will only be obtained upon presentation of laboratory test approval from an internationally accredited laboratory for samples of modules and balance of system taken from every consignment that solar companies, NGOs, etc. import into the country.  Presentation of quality certificates such as TÜV, IEEE, IEC, VDE, etc and others for products that manufacturers obtain from internationally accredited laboratories like members of International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) are not sufficient enough to warrant duty free privilege in Ethiopia. Sample testing of solar PV components costs several tens of thousands of dollars and takes several months; making prices of solar PV systems even more expensive. Hence, everyone pays duty to save time and money and serve the needy better.

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