East Africa Regional Solar Taxation Handbook

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The Uganda Solar Energy Association (USEA) and Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA) have long through their membership battled challenges with the export and importation of solar products in their respective jurisdictions. Through this, the Associations together with the Uganda National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Alliance (UNREEEA) and under the auspices of the PowerUp! Project identified the need to create a harmonized regional import customs handbook for the benefit of the East African Community Region.

The Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry, has been leading the project ‘PowerUp! Strengthening National Renewable Energy Associations’, which focuses on activating and strengthening National Renewable Energy Associations (NREAs) to promote off-grid solar markets. Given the need identified by the renewable energy associations, GOGLA contracted BDO East Africa Advisory Services Limited (BDO) to provide tax advisory services on behalf of the renewable energy associations which was geared towards the development of the East African Regional Handbook on Solar Taxation Handbook.

This initiative aimed at developing an illustrated reference customs handbook that will bring clarity, certainty, and consistency in regards to the administration and treatment of taxes and incentives for solar products. This would ideally create an enabling environment for businesses to sell solar systems by removing policy and regulatory barriers through engaging a range of partners in a coherent approach.

The Handbook was launched on the 21st of October and the event was graced by a number of delegates some of which attended virtually; the CEO USEA, CEO UNREEEA, Officials from KEREA and GOGLA, The Director General, Customs and Trade from the East African Community Secretariat, The Executive Director East African Community Business Council (EACBC), Officials from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The essence of this book is that;

  1. It identifies the most common exempted, non-exempted and zero-rated solar products and energy efficient appliances (core components, products, parts and accessories critical for delivering off-grid solar energy access).
  2. It identifies and provides applicable regional tariff codes.
  3. It identifies and provides applicable duties and taxes in the EAC.
  4. It acts as a reference customs handbook.
  5. It enables clear communication between importers and customs in order reduce costs / inefficiencies / inconsistencies in doing business.
  6. It acts as a training tool for customs, and as a guide for importers already or looking to import solar products in the East African Region.

This handbook was created by KREA and USEA and supported by GOGLA and TEA.

View the Handbook.