AS Finance Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane presents the 2023 national budget this Friday, the Solar Industry Association is calling on the New Dawn administration to remove taxes on solar batteries.
In a statement, Solar Industry Association of Zambia president Matanda Mwewa said despite government having removed duties on lithium batteries, 16 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) is still expensive.
“Leadacid, a common and old technology, is exempted from VAT and duty. While we recognise that lead acid batteries still have a position in the market, we cannot ignore the fact that lead acid is an outdated technology.
Lithium Iron phosphate, (LiFePO4 or LFP) batteries, may be the ideal battery chemistry for solar applications,” Mr Mwewa said.
He said the new technology is more durable, can withstand deeper cycles, has a larger energy density, and is very efficient.
“In addition, they require neither maintenance nor ventilation, unlike lead-acid batteries. Yes, Lithium batteries are initially more expensive, but due to their increased efficiency, you may spend less per kilowatt-hour of capacity over the battery’s lifetime. For instance in the life of equivalent lithium batteries capacity which is 10 years one with lead-acid batteries will change them atleast three times.
He said lithium batteries are also smart batteries as they have internal battery management systems which manage the battery cells and can digitally control inverter charging or discharge parameters ensuring that the battery operates according to manufacturer specifications.
He said Zambia through the implementation of earlier national development plans, which included the introduction of incentives for solar equipment, progress has been achieved towards achieving the socio-economic development objectives of vision 2030 in the energy sector.
Mr Mwewa however said not enough progress has been made for the nation to realise the vision.
“Zambia aligned its vision with SDG7 in order to guarantee universal access to affordable, dependable, and advanced energy services. This objective seeks to provide everyone with inexpensive, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy. Energy is a crucial accelerator for economic progress and affects all economic sectors. But with the existing duty fees placed on lithiums, it is evident that this is a barrier to achieving the electrification rate of 51 percent in rural areas and 90 percent in peri-urban and urban areas,” he said.
Mr Mwewa urged government to consider making lithium ion batteries not only VAT-free, but also duty-free for residential and commercial solar systems.
Dr Musokotwani is scheduled to present the 2023 National Budget on Friday, 30th September, 2022.
(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 28th September, 2022)
ERB lowers fuel prices amid Kwacha appreciation
THE Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has announced a downward adjustment in the prices of petrol, diesel, and jet A-I, bringing relief to consumers.
Effective midnight, petrol will be priced at K31.12 per litre, diesel at K28.78 per litre, and jet A-I at K28.23 per litre.
However, the price of kerosene will remain unchanged at K20.44 per litre.
The reduction in the prices have been attributed to the appreciation of the Kwacha which outweighed the increase in international oil prices therefore warranting a reduction in the domestic wholesale and pump prices of petroleum products.
ERB Board chairperson Reynolds Bowa said the price of kerosene has been maintained, adding that the decision on kerosene pricing will be reviewed consistent with the national supply and demand situation.
In a statement, Mr Bowa said over the review period, the Kwacha significantly appreciated against the United States Dollar.
“On average the exchange rate appreciated 14.4 percent. The appreciation was mainly attributed to interest rate hike by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) and the directive that commercial banks hold back more funds in reserve. Furthermore, BoZ made available additional United States Dollars to the market,” he said.
Mr Bowa said the prices will come into effect at midnight and shall remain in effect until revised by the ERB.
He however said during the month of February the prices of oil on the international market increased.
Mr Bowa said the increase was mainly attributed to supply disruptions arising from geopolitical tensions in the Middle East which led to tightened supply of the commodity.
Meanwhile, the ERB in line with the Energy Policy has developed a bio-fuels pricing framework that will be used on blended fuel.
Mr Bowa said the growth of the biofuel industry will foster security of supply of petroleum products.
“Currently, a pilot phase for bio-ethanol trading has commenced and ERB will give periodic updates on how this programme is unfolding.” he said.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 29th February, 2024)
ACC nab senior accountant, businessman
A LUSAKA based senior accountant has been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) alongside a business man for possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Kasemuka Chiteta, a senior accountant stationed at police headquarters has since been charged with one count of possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime.
ACC head of corporate communications Timothy Moono said in a statement that Kasemuka Chiteta on dates unknown but between 7th April, 2023 and 12th February 2024 in Lusaka District, concealed possession of a motor vehicle namely Toyota Landcruiser BAD4360 registered under the ownership of Chimuka Chibawe a Lusaka based businessman.
“In a similar development, the ACC has arrested and charged a Lusaka based businessman, Chimuka Chibawe of plot No. 136 C Kalomo road Chilenje” Mr Moono said.
He said Mr Chibawe has been charged with one count of Possession of Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime contrary to Section 71 (1) of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act No. 19 of 2010.
“Details of the offence are that, Chimuka Chibawe on dates unknown but between 7th April, 2023 and 12thFebruary 2024 in Lusaka, concealed possession of a motor vehicle namely Toyota Landcruiser BAD4360 registered under his names when the beneficial owner is Mr. Kasemuka Chiteta a Senior Accountant at Police Service Headquarters,” he said.
The pair has since been released on bond pending court appearance.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 29th February, 2024)
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