Industry faults policy on fake energy products

The Association of Renewable Energy Industries of Malawi (Reama) has blamed the flooding of fake solar energy products on the market due to the liberalisation of the market.

The influx of substandard renewable energy products has also worsened following the removal of five percent import duty on all solar products.

Reama president Andrew Nkoloma said the removal of import duty on solar products which extended to even non-licensed dealers, has made it difficult to check importation of fake products.

“The liberalisation of the market had its own disadvantages because everyone is free to import solar products. As a result, there is a lot of substandard and fake products on the market and the solution would be to re-restrict this duty waiver to registered players.”

He appealed to government to review the old Barrier Removal to Renewable Energy in Malawi (Barrem) project—which started in 2002 and run until 2006—meant to protect consumers from fake products.

Government removed import duty on solar products, which has also extended to even uncertified dealers while Parliament, on the other hand, maintained 16.5 percent value added tax (VAT) on solar accessories.

Solar Traders Association (STA) president Chisambazi Nyirenda is on record as having said by allowing only duty registered businesses waivers, it would help in quality control and check the influx of sub-standard products on the market.

Malawi spends almost $50 million (about K34 billion) on low quality and harmful lighting every year, according to a United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID)-funded Business Innovation Facility report.

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