NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The East African Community (EAC) member states
are planning to phase out all import duties on solar panels in
order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, an official said on
Benson Mwakina, the
Director of Renewable at Kenya’s Ministry of Energy, told Xinhua
in Nairobi that the EAC Council of Ministers in Charge of Energy
has already agreed to scrap levies on solar equipment.
“The decision will
soon be sent to the EAC Heads of States who are expected to
endorse the removal of all import tariffs for solar panels by
the end of the year,” Mwakina said.
The EAC partner
states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and
South Sudan. Mwakina said that none of the countries in the
regional bloc manufactures solar equipment and are therefore
dependent on imports.
He said currently
some countries in the trading bloc levy taxes on solar
equipment, which can lead to smuggling of the products by
unscrupulous traders seeking to take advantage of the different
Mwakina noted that
under the EAC Common External Tariffs, the region is supposed to
have harmonized taxes on all goods imported into the economic
He added that the
region is committed to promote the use of renewable energy
sources for both domestic and household needs so as to reduce
emission of green house gases.
The Kenyan official
noted that the bulk of the residents in the economic bloc use
biomass for cooking and kerosene for household lighting needs.
“We are hoping to
promote environmental protection by reducing the cost of solar
products in the region,” Mwakina said.