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House lifts VAT, import duties from renewable energy equipment

Unanimous support from the National Assembly, on Monday, saw the smooth passage of the Customs Duties (Amendment) Order of 2012 introduced by Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh as Parliament reconvened after the three months recess.
The order seeks to have Customs duties on the importation of renewable energy/energy-efficient equipment removed, while deeming the item “zero rated”, exempting it from the usual 16 per cent charged for Value Added Tax (VAT).

“The making of this order and its companion order, the VAT Amendment of 2012, both of those instruments endeavours to provide for the removal of VAT and the removal of Customs Duty on machinery and equipment for obtaining, generating, and utilising energy from renewable energy sources,” Dr Singh said.
“…. Customs Duties (Amendment) Order also discharges a second responsibility and that is to say the removal of duties on exports pursuant to our obligations under Article 14 under the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and it would, therefore, be noted that in paragraph three that of the order makes an insertion that no export duty shall apply to any exporter member of the European Union or the Dominican Republic consistent with our EPA agreement,” he added.

Order consistent with LCDS
The finance minister said the introduction of the order is consistent with the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDs), which promotes new and renewable energy along with energy efficiency.
He noted that it is the governments’ intention to promote a greater reliance on renewable sources of energy as compared to traditional sources, which include the fossil fuel sector.
“I believe that the two orders, certainly the Customs order are very straightforward and simple, and, I believe, merit unanimous support of the house.
We hope that more business and more households would recognise the merits of migrating from less efficient devices to more efficient devices,” he said.
However, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds in his capacity as energy minister said that given the “general circumstances”, renewable energy is not economically competitive, with energy derived from commonly available fossil fuels.
“Only solar water heating is really at this time economically competitive with some fuels.
The general position is the prices for renewable energy equipment will keep on forming as the demands grow,” he said.
Signalling the coalition’s consent for the amendment, A Partnership for National Unity parliamentarian Carl Greenidge said the grouping have “no difficulty recognising that the amendment of the schedule export duty is part of an obligation arising from the EPA agreement signed with the European Union.”
He said as a result of that obligation, it is a necessity that Guyana satisfies the commitment to the EU and to the Dominican Republic.
“On the main parts, I would like to say that we welcome the bill, but I would say that the minister needs to be encouraged to look more widely at the tools that could be used to fashion a more comprehensive policy as regards in the energy efficiency policy that would relieve the burdens of the increase in fossil fuel,” he urged.
Also speaking on the order was Alliance For Change (AFC) parliamentarian Moses Nagamotoo who said that the party believes “this is one of the ways we can find census and agreement.” He noted the agreement was because the bill sought to bring relief to the investment of consumers to allow the country to lower its’ growing energy costs.
“We (AFC) also feel that GPL (Guyana Power and Light) needs a little breather; if the private investments can fill the void, so that we can less blackouts, then the private investors can be encouraged to come onboard,” he said.



Category/ies:Guyana News, News.
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