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LAHORE: Despite clear assurance by the Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, imposition of 17 percent tax on the solar equipment is a sheer injustice and will hit the objectives of the Alternate & Renewable Energy Policy. The tax should be withdrawn immediately.

The demand was raised at an urgent press conference jointly organized by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Pakistan Solar Association at the LCCI on Friday.

LCCI president Mian Nauman Kabir, senior vice-president Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, acting chairman of Pakistan Solar Association M Farhan, senior vice-chairman Waqas Moosa, members of the association - Amir Chaudhry, Ali Rafiq and others addressed the press conference.

Pakistan Solar Association representatives said that on January 13, Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, in his speech on Supplementary Finance Bill 2021-22, announced that the proposal of tax on solar equipment has been removed. But on January 17, while submitting import GDs on the FBR portal for Customs clearance, it was discovered by various importers that the sales tax exemption was eliminated and tax was imposed on solar equipment.

They said that the solar and wind power plants are the only alternative solution against the rising prices of electricity, gas and petrol and the increasing environmental pollution in the country. They said that the fossil fuel-based power plants require costly imported diesel and oil while the installation of solar system is required one-time investment which provides continuous benefits for more than 25 years without additional expenses.

LCCI president Mian Nauman Kabir said that the imposition of 17 percent tax on the solar energy equipment will fragile the efforts for the promotion of alternative energy sources in the country.

He said that the finance minister announces tax exemption on solar equipment while the tax has been imposed which means that his credibility is being challenged.

He said at a time when the world is setting targets for a zero-carbon economy, supporting the trade of green products and imposing penalties on the high carbon sector, the government’s decision to impose tax on solar energy equipment does not prevail as a favorable idea for its own sustainability.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that the country needs to increase exports and earn foreign exchange. However, solar energy is becoming costly due to increased taxes, thus pushing up production cost to compete on the international market.

LCCI senior vice-president Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that there is a dire need of the promotion of alternative energy sources to control the high import bill. He said that the solar equipment are imported one time and generate energy for the life of the equipment while on the other hand, the import of oil has to be imported on a regular basis to produce electricity through thermal means.

He said that this decision is against the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said that the thermal means of power generation are not environment friendly.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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