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Traders call for extension of clean energy concessions

PLAYERS from the renewable energy sector have called on Government to extend the waiver allowing them to import their products tax and duty free.

Failure to do so, they insist, will compromise the viability of the sector at a time when the use of clean energy sources are deemed critical to Jamaica’s efforts to help stave off the ill effects of a changing climate.

“Without the waiver, it will prove impossible to create an energy sector that is environmentally sustainable with significantly increased use of economically viable renewable energy sources while fully protecting the environment and an energy sector that reflects a sustained improvement in the ways in which energy is produced,” the Jamaica Solar Energy Association (JSEA) said in a release to the media.

JSEA is a non-governmental organisation comprising manufacturers, retailers, marketers and installers who serve the solar energy and renewable energy market.

The association said further that without the resuspension of the Common External Tariff on the renewable energy products — which expired on May 31 — small and medium-size businesses that sell solar energy products, for example, may begin to fail.

“If these tariff values have to be passed to consumers, soon they will reject clean efficient options in favour of high energy inefficient options and the nation’s progress will be retarded,” JSEA predicted.

The association’s plea follows a statement from the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), who have themselves urged the Government to rethink its decision on the waiver.

“It is critical that the concession be extended to encourage and promote the use of these products, which will reduce our energy bill. It is important that as a country desperately in need of affordable renewable and efficient energy that our policies encourage investment in this vital area,” Opposition spokesman on energy Phillip Paulwell said in a statement last week.

“The removal of the concession, which ended May 31, has seen prices of affected products being increased between 20 and 30 per cent, thereby adding even more burden on top of the already-very-high energy cost being faced by the society,” he added.

Paulwell, at one time Jamaica’s Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, also repeated the call made by PNP leader and former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for the establishment of a National Energy Council.

“The Opposition believes it is absolutely essential that Jamaica’s energy policy be removed outside the political area and be overseen by the non-partisan professionals in the industry,” Paulwell said.

Source: Jamaica Observer

Category/ies:Jamaica News.
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