Solar industry receives knocks at national budget submissions, accused of exploitative tendencies


At the 2025 national budget submissions, the Solar Industry Association of Zambia requested for more incentives for its members, a development which did not sit well with some participants in the audience.

Participants accused the players in the solar industry of selling products which were allegedly of poor quality and yet sold at exorbitant prices, taking advantage of the current energy crisis being experienced.

Through its president, Mutanda Mwewa, the Solar Association proposed a number of incentives from the government.

Among the proposals made by Mwewa included zero rating of the inventors, egg incubators and solar sewing machines, among others.

Additionally, Mwewa submitted removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) and zero rating of: “the other equipment that we are calling for the removal of both duty and VAT are Direct Current (DC) funds.

“The other important equipment we are calling for zero rating and removal of duty on the DC fridges and freezers. At the moment this is needed and it calls for immediate action.

“These have not been selling in the solar industry because of how expensive they are, but I think if we consider our submission we will see that these will come on the market.”

Read more: Association demands active play of locals in power purchase agreements in solar industry

These proposals did not sit well with some participants, with a lecturer from the Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies (ZCAS) University, Carter Mwanamangala Bbune, accusing the players of exploiting citizens.

Bhune, whose accusations were applauded by some participants in the audience, wondered why solar products were still very expensive despite the industry being subsidised by government.

“I have a concern to the previous presenter about solar. I want to re-echo the President’s frustration which I think it is true where these people have been given incentives to import solar panels which they are supposed to resale under a crisis like we are facing currently.

“Why is it that these things are getting more and more expensive from your members despite those incentives, the prices are going up? At what point will you pass on that price to the members of the general public,” Bhune said.

He, therefore, suggested that government should start regulating prices of all solar products.

“I have gone around the market and these things are getting more and more expensive, anything to do with solar. My suggestion is that government should start controlling these prices because citizens are exploited.
There was a lot of exploitation from those suppliers.

“The prices on the market are extremely exorbitant with highly poor-quality. I suggest that Government should check on the quality of solar and the prices should be regulated,” Bbune said.

In defending himself, Mwewa claimed that the solar industry was last incentivised in 2008.

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